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Geographer, Alumnus Receives Honorary Degree

A spatial statistician and alumnus received an honorary Doctoral of Science degree at May commencement ceremonies, while an education major served as student speaker.

Daniel Griffith,who earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education in 1970 and his master’s degree in Geography in 1972 from IUP, is an Ashbel Smith Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He earned a second master’s from Penn State University and his doctoral degree from the University of Toronto. IUP presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1982.

Recently, Griffith was an invited visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, and was awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars to convene a series of workshops and seminars about spatial statistics and geographic information systems at the invitation of the University of Alberta. Previously a member of the faculty at Syracuse University, Griffith was awarded a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship to the University of Cambridge. While at Syracuse, he specialized in quantitative, urban, and economic geography.

As described in a 1999 issue of IUP Magazine, which featured a story about Griffith, spatial statistics, his specialty, can be thought of as number crunching or processing mounds of data concerning designated geographic situations or conditions. The processing results yield the problems’ solution or at least a pathway to the solution. He was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2001 and was first listed in Who’s Who in the World in 2002.

Rachel Sams will serve as the student speaker. She will receive her B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education. Having a special interest in educating youngsters in urban settings, she has participated in the unique collaborative program that IUP has with the Community College of Allegheny College and has completed four field experiences in urban schools in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Commencement ceremonies will be held May 13 at 11:00 a.m. at Miller Stadium. More than 1,400 graduates are expected to participate.

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