LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University will graduate the largest class in its 231-year history on Saturday, May 28, at 10 a.m. on the front lawn of historic Old Morrison. This will be the first Transylvania commencement for newly inaugurated president R. Owen Williams.
Aris Candris, president and chief executive officer of Westinghouse Electric Company, a world leader in the commercial nuclear power industry, will give the commencement address. Candris, a 1973 graduate of Transylvania and a member of the board of trustees, became the first member of his immediate family to leave his native Greece and attend college in America. His nephew, Stamatios Kandris, is a member of the class of 2011.
Continuing the tradition of a graduating senior speaking at commencement on behalf of the students, Virginia Gentry Hamilton, of Bardstown, Ky., will represent the class of 2011.
Candris completed his Transylvania degree in three years with three majors—mathematics, physics and pre-engineering. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University.
He began his 36-year career with Westinghouse as a senior engineer and has progressed through increasingly responsible positions on both the engineering and management sides of the company. He was appointed president and CEO in 2008.
Today, Candris is among the world’s leading experts on energy and nuclear power. He serves on the board of directors of the World Nuclear Association and is a member of the Nuclear Energy Institute. He has been involved in White House meetings that have included Vice President Joe Biden, and has worked closely with the U. S. Department of Energy. Several of his most recent meetings have focused on the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, including a trip to Brazil in March with President Barack Obama.
Candris was elected to the Transylvania Board of Trustees in 2008. That same year, he and his wife, Laura A. (Sutton) Candris ’75, established the Laura and Aris Candris Science Scholarship at Transylvania, which gives preference to international students. The university honored him with a Distinguished Achievement Award in 2003.
Hamilton, a writing, rhetoric and communication major and psychology minor, spent the summer of 2010 working as a promotion department intern at Nickelodeon Preschool Brand Creative in New York City and helped organize and execute projects pertaining to the organization’s biggest event of the year, “Dora’s Birthday Adventure.” Nickelodeon has offered her a full-time position as a production assistant and she will be moving to New York City immediately after graduation to begin that job. She is the daughter of Thomas and Lynn Hamilton of Bardstown.