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Commencement exercises to be held May 6; Abeles to speak

April 22, 2000

Coastal Carolina University will recognize approximately 480 candidates for graduation during commencement exercises Saturday, May 6 at 9 a.m. at the campus Soccer Stadium. May and August candidates will be recognized. The public is welcome to attend.

The ceremony will be transmitted live over the Internet at:

Sigmund Abeles and John Hope will receive honorary degrees. Abeles, a world-renowned artist known for his drawings, paintings and prints, will deliver the commencement address and receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y, Abeles grew up in Myrtle Beach, where his mother operated a boarding house. Interested in art from an early age, he frequently visited Brookgreen Gardens throughout his youth and spent many hours making drawings of the sculptures there. Abeles graduated from Myrtle Beach High School in 1952 and entered the University of South Carolina, initially as a pre-medicine major, then switching to fine arts.

In the summer of 1954, he studied at the Arts Students League in New York City and had his first solo museum show at the Florence Art Museum in Florence, S.C., in 1955. He entered the Master's of Fine Arts program at Columbia University in 1956, graduating the following year. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army, Abeles accepted the position of resident artist at Wellesley College, thus beginning his long, successful second career as a university professor. In addition to Wellesley, he has taught at Boston College, the Art Students League of New York, the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Mass., and (for 17 years) the University of New Hampshire, where he is professor emeritus. Abeles' works have been displayed in solo exhibits throughout the United States and are part of the permanent collections of more than 30 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Arts, and the British Museum in London.

A retrospective exhibition of his works is planned for the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum and for Brookgreen Gardens in 2001. Abeles lives in New York City.

A native of Stowell, Penn., Hope is Tropical Weather Expert for The Weather Channel. During his 50-year career in weather forecasting, Hope has earned international recognition for his achievements.

Hope attended the University of Illinois where he majored in mathematics. He earned a master's degree in meteorology from the University of Chicago. His distinguished career in meteorology began in 1941 when he became a weather observer and forecaster in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He joined the U.S. Weather Bureau in 1949 and was an aviation forecaster and a district forecaster before becoming a principle assistant in the Spaceflight Meteorology Group in 1962.

He transferred to the National Hurricane Center in 1968 and was soon named a senior hurricane specialist. After 37 years in the National Weather Service, Hope joined The Weather Channel in 1982 as the tropical coordinator and on-camera meteorologist.

Hope has received many public service awards, including the 1971 U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal, the National Hurricane Conference Media Award in 1990 and the 1994 Governor's Award from the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference. He served as chair of the Forecasts and Warning Committee of the Hurricane Warning Conference from 1972 to 1981.

Although officially retired, Hope continues to provide around-the- clock coverage, as needed, during the annual hurricane season. In January 2000, The Weather Channel established the John R. Hope Scholarship in Atmospheric Sciences, which is administered by the American Meteorological Society.

Hope will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service. In case of inclement weather, the commencement ceremony will be held in Kimbel Arena; a closed-circuit broadcast also will be shown in the Wheelwright and Wall auditoriums. For more information, contact the Office of Marketing Communications at 349-2015.