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Cosby Speaks at Master's Convocation

As the semester draws to a close, finals are being taken, dissertations are being defended, and preparations are being made for convocation and commencement. This year's master's convocation, in particular, promises to be a memorable one.

Actor, writer, educator Bill Cosby will address graduates and receive the Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service.

The student speaker at the ceremony will be Melissa Steele of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Steele is the winner of the Walter E. Sindlinger Award, which recognizes outstanding writing in the field of education. Her paper was entitled "Critique of Kwanzaa and Me."

Bill Cosby has built his successful career as one of the most influential celebrities in America around his flair as an entertainer, his warmth and humor as a person, and his deep sense of responsibility as a communicator and educator.

His television series "The Cosby Show" incorporated educational themes including friendship, cooperation, dyslexia, and work habits in a healthy family setting.

Cosby's wholesome appeal has allowed him to combine his versatile talent as an entertainer with his skills as an educator to teach lessons about life and life skills through a variety of media. In addition to his books "Fatherhood," "Time Flies," "Love and Marriage," and "Childhood," which give wise and loving insights into human relationships at various stages of life, he is known for "Bill Cosby's Picture Pages," which include television spots, videotapes and workbooks, and help develop readiness skills in preschoolers.

Most recently, in memory of his son Ennis, who was killed in January of 1997, Cosby completed a project that his son had begun: writing children's books about youngsters with learning problems. The three illustrated stories are designed to help parents teach values to their children, and feature a character called "Little Bill." At the time of his death, Ennis Cosby had completed his Ed.M. in Special Education and was working toward completion of his Ed.D. at TC.

This year, 1380 students are to receive master's degrees and 167 are to receive doctoral degrees from the College. The master's convocation will take place on Tuesday, May 19, at 4:00 p.m at St. John the Divine at 112th Street and Amsterdam. Only graduates and those with tickets will be permitted to attend the convocation ceremony.

The following morning at 10:30 a.m., degrees will be conferred to all graduates at the Columbia University campus. Then, at 2:30 p.m., convocation for doctoral students will be held at Riverside Church, where graduates will be hooded by President Levine.

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