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For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Turnis
(719) 389-6138


CC alumnus Neal Baer to address graduating class of 2005 on May 23

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – May 16, 2005 – Neal Baer, executive producer of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and former executive producer and writer for “ER,” will address the Colorado College graduating Class of 2005 at its commencement.

Baer, a 1978 alumnus of Colorado College, will speak to about 520 graduating seniors at the ceremonies, which will be held at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 23, on Armstrong Quad, directly north of the intersection of Tejon and Cache La Poudre streets on the CC campus. In case of rain, commencement ceremonies will be held at the Colorado Springs World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., Colorado Springs.

Baer grew up in Denver. He graduated with a degree in political science and also earned a teaching certificate at Colorado College. He then continued his education with master’s degrees in education and sociology from Harvard University, and began studying documentary film writing.

He wrote an episode of “China Beach” that was nominated by the Writers Guild of America for best episodic drama of 1990. He wrote and directed an ABC After School Special, “Private Affairs,” which was selected best children’s drama of 1990 by the Association of Women in Film and Television. Both dealt with medical issues, foreshadowing another career direction, this time to medical school. Baer received his M.D. from Harvard in 1996.

He spent several seasons as executive producer and writer on the Emmy-winning series “ER.” Baer's passion for medical accuracy has benefited the American public; a Harvard study revealed most Americans learn more about health-related problems and treatment from television series than from their own doctors. He is known for pursuing controversial topics and presenting them with integrity.

Baer is now executive producer of the Emmy-nominated NBC series "Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit." “ SVU” has won the Shine (Sexual Health in Entertainment) Award, Prism Award and the Media Access Award. Baer is also a pediatrician.

Members of the Colorado College senior class choose their commencement speaker each year.

“As a CC alumnus, Baer knows what we’ve gone through and what the school has to offer,” says Mari Hunter, treasurer of the Class of 2005, and a student who was very involved in the choice of a speaker. “He’s had a diverse background and will be able to address a wide variety of issues.”

Baer has said Colorado College and its one-course-at-a-time Block Plan provided an environment that fostered his sense of discovery.

“Obviously, the Block Plan worked well for me, as much as I like to focus,” he has said. “And the professors were so supportive. They thought I was sort of wacky and unusual – and liked that – and they always had time for me.”  

At CC’s commencement, honorary degrees will be awarded to Roy Romer, former Colorado governor and current superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District; Professor Susannah Heschel, chair of the Jewish Studies program at Dartmouth College; and the late Kay Deen Patterson, a leading Colorado Springs businesswoman. Baer was awarded an honorary degree from CC in 2000.

Colorado College’s baccalaureate ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22 in Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave., on the college campus. Heschel will present “The Moral Challenge of Memory” at the event. The speech and ceremony can be heard from the lawn outside Shove Memorial Chapel as well.

Heschel’s research focuses on modern Jewish thought, feminist theology, and German Protestantism. She is the author of numerous studies on modern Jewish thought, including “ Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus” and “ Insider/Outsider: Jews and Multiculturalism.”

Heschel was the Martin Buber visiting professor of Jewish Religious Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and has lectured frequently in Germany on topics related to Jewish-Christian relations, as well as on feminism and religion.

Heschel is renowned for her expertise and appreciated on international level. She spoke on Judaism as part of a panel on religion and the environment at the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. She spoke on Judaism and population ethics at the 1994 UN Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

About Colorado College

Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts and sciences college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 2,000 students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. For more information go to www.ColoradoCollege.edu .

EDITOR’S NOTE: A digital image of Baer is available upon request.