ICQ 2003/4
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Scott Hamilton Is Commencement Speaker

Q: What do last year's Commencement speakers and this year's speaker have in common?

A: Ice.


 Scott Hamilton

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the 2003 speakers, are famous as the creative entrepreneurs who brought us Ben and Jerry's ice cream. This year Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater, cancer survivor, and champion of nonprofit fundraising, will share stories of perseverance with the class of 2004 and guests during the Sunday, May 16, Commencement ceremony.

In 1986 Hamilton cofounded Stars on Ice as a forum for professional figure skaters to bring their art and athleticism to a wider audience. Hamilton built the company up, hitting 5 U.S. cities that first year and more than 60 during his own farewell tour in 2001-2. Hamilton is no longer a full-time company member but will be a "guest star" this season with what is now known as Smuckers Stars on Ice, named for its new corporate sponsor.

Hamilton received a gold medal for his programs in the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics and for years drew crowds to his dazzling skating performances with the Ice Capades and Stars on Ice. But in spring 1997 he faced his most difficult competitor when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Following 12 weeks of chemotherapy, surgery, and 6 weeks of recuperation, he made a triumphant return to the Stars on Ice tour in fall 1997. Since then Hamilton has used his celebrity status to promote organizations like the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center, where he was treated, the Make a Wish Foundation, and the Special Olympics. In 1999 he founded the Scott Hamilton CARES (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education, and Survivorship) Initiative, which promotes cancer awareness and raises funds for cancer research. So far CARES has raised more than $10 million.

Senior class president Melissa Ferraro says the graduating class is fortunate to have Hamilton as its Commencement speaker. "Not only is he an outstanding athlete," she says, "but he embodies many of the characteristics that a graduating senior needs."

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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 30 April, 2004