Dr. John Agresto, senior adviser for higher education and scientific research to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, will deliver the Samford University commencement address. Agresto, named last August as the top education adviser in the war-torn country, will speak during 10 a.m. exercises Saturday, May 22, at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena. It will be his only speaking engagement outside Iraq during the U.S. commencement period.
The former president of St. John's College in Santa Fe, N.Mex., Agresto succeeded Andrew Erdmann when he left Iraq last summer for an assignment on the National Security Council. Agresto has broad powers to determine policy and set a course for the future of higher education in Iraq. His contract specifies an 18-month assignment that is extendable. "I was told the job would take anywhere from four months to forever, but it certainly can't be done in four months," he told The Chronicle of Higher Education. "The Iraqis had one of the finest systems of higher education years ago, and it's simply a question of helping them rebuild what they once had."
Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama's Seventh District will address Cumberland School of Law graduates during 3 p.m. exercises at Wright Center on the campus.
Dr. Joel Gregory of Gregory Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas, will deliver the Baccalaureate sermon Friday, May 21, at 6 p.m. in Wright Center.
The President's Reception for seniors and their families will precede Baccalaureate at 2:30-4:30 p.m. in Beeson University Center.
Samford will graduate a total of 835 seniors including 158 law graduates.