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06/09/2006 07:00:00

Baltimore to Give Address, TV Show Recognized at Caltech Commencement Today

PASADENA, Calif.--David Baltimore, the president of the California Institute of Technology, will be the keynote speaker at the 112th annual Caltech commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. today, June 9, on Beckman Mall on the Pasadena campus. The topic of his address will be "Passing Through the Hourglass."

There will be 246 bachelor's degrees awarded, 120 master's degrees, and 177 Ph.D. degrees, for a total of 543 graduates.

Baltimore's special guests at the ceremony will be the creators and an actor from the CBS television program "Numb3rs." Actor David Krumholtz and co-creators and executive producers Cheryl Heuton and Nicolas Falacci will be recognized for their work. Caltech mathematics professor Gary Lorden serves as the math adviser to the program and many scenes are filmed at Caltech.

The commencement ceremony will be digitally recorded and made available for viewing online. For information, visit

Baltimore, who has served as Caltech president for nearly nine years, is retiring this year. He will remain at the Institute, where he intends to focus on his scientific work and teaching.

He has agreed to remain president until the new president, Jean-Lou Chameau, the current provost at Georgia Institute of Technology, takes the office on or before September 1.

Baltimore, 68, assumed the presidency on October 15, 1997. During his tenure many significant events took place at Caltech. Early on, he oversaw the completion of a fund-raising initiative for the biological sciences, marked by the construction and dedication of the Broad Center for the Biological Sciences. He launched the current $1.4 billion capital campaign, which included receipt of the largest gift to higher education, $600 million from Gordon and Betty Moore and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The campaign will continue for one more year and has already raised more than $1.1 billion. An important part of Caltech's mission is its stewardship of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, supported by NASA. Baltimore's presidency has spanned many spectacular JPL successes, notably the Mars Exploration Rovers, as well as the appointment of a new director, Dr. Charles Elachi.

Also during his tenure, five members of the Caltech faculty and alumni received Nobel Prizes. Baltimore received his own Nobel in 1975 at the age of 37 for his work on the genetic mechanisms of viruses. He has contributed widely to the understanding of cancer, AIDS, and the molecular basis of the immune response. He has continued to operate his research lab while acting as president and has announced many important scientific breakthroughs while at Caltech, including establishing a new methodology to help fight cancer, developing a new gene therapy that is highly effective in preventing HIV from infecting individual cells in the immune system, and creating a new methodology for producing transgenic mice. He has also joined with others in proposing a new global effort to create an HIV vaccine. He received the National Medal of Science in 1999 from President Bill Clinton and the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize in 2000 for pioneering work leading to cancer therapy.

Not only has Baltimore been prolific in writing about his findings in scientific journals, but he also raised Caltech's visibility by contributing opinion pieces to general-interest media on such subjects as the value of stem cell research, the unnecessary public panic that arose during the SARS epidemic, science research under the Bush administration, and the importance of maintaining the scientific workforce in the United States.

Baltimore has several outstanding administrative and public policy achievements to his credit. In the mid-1970s, he played an important role in creating a consensus on national science policy regarding recombinant DNA research. He served as founding director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT from 1982 until 1990 and was president of Rockefeller University in 1990-91. An early advocate of federal AIDS research, he cochaired the 1986 National Academy of Sciences Committee on a National Strategy for AIDS and was appointed in 1996 to head the National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee. He is the president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Baltimore is the seventh person to lead "modern day" Caltech, his predecessors being James A. B. Scherer, Robert A. Millikan, Lee A. DuBridge, Harold Brown, Marvin L. Goldberger, and Thomas E. Everhart. ### Contact: Jill Perry (626) 395-3226

Visit the Caltech Media Relations website at

Written by Jill Perry