Rod Thorn, president of the NBA s New Jersey Nets and a former Mountaineer basketball standout, will offer advice to hundreds of students participating in West VirginiaUniversitys December Convocation at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the Coliseum.
Another former member of the University community �€former chairman of the WVU Department of Psychology, Warner Schaie �€will receive an honorary degree.
Thorn, who also serves on WVU s Board of Governors, scored 1,785 points and set six school records in three years as an All-American guard on the Mountaineer squad before turning pro. He played eight seasons in the NBA and went on to coach several NBA and ABA teams. He was general manager of the Chicago Bulls from 1978-85 and the NBA s executive vice president for 14 years. He was named president of the Nets in June 2000, managing all team personnel and player-related issues, including trades and draft picks.
The WVU alumnus majored in pre-medicine before switching to political science at WVU . He joined the NBA with a few academic hours outstanding and later completed his degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. WVU awarded him a Regents Bachelors of Arts degree in 2000.
“We are so pleased to welcome Rod Thorn to campus to speak to our students about what WVU has meant to his life and to offer advice to those who are graduating and entering various career fields,”said WVU President David C. Hardesty.”Rod has spent the last four decades in the NBA as a player, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, league official and now team president, and is a shining example of the many successful graduates of this University. He contributes greatly to the work of our governing board as well, and for that we thank him.”
Dr. Schaie, who will receive the honorary Doctor of Science degree on Dec. 6, is currently the Evan Pugh Professor of Human Development and Psychology at The Pennsylvania State University and director of PennStates GerontologyCenter. He is internationally renowned in the field of cognitive development from young adulthood to advanced old age, receiving numerous international and national awards for his work. He is the author or editor of some 22 books and more than 200 articles related to the psychology of aging.
As a faculty member and department chair in the WVU Department of Psychology from 1964-73, he was best known for developing WVU s APA -accredited clinical psychology program, establishing a life-span developmental psychology program and redefining the departments research focus �€which still exists 30 years after his departure.
He is also remembered for being among the first WVU faculty members to receive extramural funding for research initiatives.
“Under Dr. Schaies guidance in the late60s and early70s, WVU s Psychology Department expanded its teaching activities, successfully obtained large research grants and refocused its research emphases in clinical, behavioral and developmental psychology, bringing the program into national prominence,”said Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Dean Duane Nellis.”We are pleased to welcome this distinguished scholar and skilled administrator back to our campus.”
While not a formal Commencement, the 11th annual December Graduates Convocation honors those students who complete their degree-requirements in mid-year. Degrees are conferred during May commencement.
The ceremony will include seasonal and classical arrangements by the University Choir, under the direction of Conductor Kathleen Shannon, as well as music provided by a harpist.
Nearly 1,200 WVU seniors are expected to graduate in December. All should have received an invitation at their local address by mid-November. Those who need to update their local addresses should call 304-293-2124, ext. 1526.
This year, the number of guests will not be limited and tickets are not required, but reservations are still needed to formulate a list of graduates who plan to attend. To RSVP , call 304-293-8024 or 304-293-8029.
Due to favorable response from past ceremonies, December graduates will again don traditional caps and gowns and cross the stage as their names are called. Up until the 2000 ceremony, December graduates did not dress in formal attire and only stood as a group as their college was recognized. Caps and gowns can be ordered by calling Alicia Cayton at the WVU Bookstore, 304-293-7464.