'MythBusters' co-host Hyneman to be 2016 IU Bloomington commencement speaker

Curt Simic, former longtime head of IU Foundation, to receive honorary degree

  • April 1, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University alumnus Jamie Hyneman, a special effects expert and inventor best known as co-host and executive producer of the popular TV show "MythBusters," will be the featured speaker at IU Bloomington's undergraduate commencement May 7.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., outdoors at IU Memorial Stadium, 1001 E. 17th St. Commencement is free and open to the public. Parking is free.

Curtis R. Simic, president emeritus of the Indiana University Foundation and a nationally recognized leader in fundraising for higher education and foundation management, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters degree at the ceremony.

Hyneman is a former survival expert, charter boat captain, diver, film effects specialist, engineer and inventor as well as a TV host and producer. He has an IU degree in Russian language and linguistics through the Individualized Major Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Few people have done more than Jamie Hyneman to share the fun of science and engineering with a large and enthusiastic audience," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "As an IU graduate with a degree in Russian linguistics, he has exploded any myth that studying the humanities will not lead to an exciting and successful career. We at Indiana University are delighted and proud to welcome him as the IU Bloomington 2016 undergraduate commencement speaker."

Born in Marshall, Mich., and raised in Columbus, Ind., Hyneman graduated from IU Bloomington in 1981. After college, he started and ran a successful charter business in the Caribbean. Eventually he sailed back to the United States and sought work in film effects. Over the course of 20 years he has had his hands on more than 800 commercials and feature films, first as a technician, then as a manager, and finally as founder of M5 Industries in San Francisco.

"MythBusters" is one of Discovery Channel's most highly regarded series, having created more than 250 hours of programming and airing in nearly every country that has television and Internet. Known known for its liberal use of high explosives and creative problem-solving, it is credited with inspiring at least two generations to seek careers in science-related fields. It aired its 14th and final season this year.

While producing and hosting "MythBusters" and other television projects, Hyneman was quietly doing work with the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. Army, the Office of Naval Research and local law enforcement. He received the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. He has received two honorary doctorates and the Washburn Award from the Boston Museum of Science. Known for well-grounded yet outside-the-box engineering, he lectures regularly on product design and holds patents in a variety of areas.

He lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area. His shop, M5 Industries, where the majority of "MythBusterswas shot, is now a research and development facility and think tank.

Honorary degree

Simic, who will receive an honorary degree, retired in 2008 after 20 years as president of the Indiana University Foundation, where he was responsible for overseeing all fundraising, investment of the university's endowment and development-related administration and infrastructure. Under his leadership, annual IU fundraising grew from $70 million from 60,000 donors to more than $270 million from more than 120,000 donors.

Prior to leading the IU Foundation, Simic also served Yale University and the universities of Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon and California-Berkeley, where he directed the largest fundraising campaign ever conducted at a public university at that time.

"Curt Simic is widely recognized for his expertise in higher education development as well as his affection for and loyalty to Indiana University,McRobbie said. "Curt deserves enormous credit for the strong support that IU enjoys from its alumni and friends, and he is richly deserving of this honorary degree."

Additional commencement information

Memorial Stadium will open for guests at 8 a.m. May 7 for undergraduate commencement ceremony, and the procession of graduates will begin at 8:45 a.m. Students who complete the requirements for graduation by May 2016 and students who will complete requirements in 2016 summer sessions may participate. Graduating students must report to Mellencamp Pavilion, near Memorial Stadium, for robing no later than 7:30 a.m.

There are no tickets and generally no reserved seats. People with wheelchairs and those who need accessible seating should make reservations by contacting the Office of University Events at 812-855-3762 or sending an email to iuevents@indiana.edu.

For those with family and friends who are unable to attend, commencement ceremonies will be broadcast live via streaming video at broadcast.iu.edu. They also will be available for viewing later, along with videos of past commencement ceremonies archived on the site.

Complete information about commencement ceremonies on IU campuses is available on the Office of University Events website.

Related Links

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Media Contacts

Mark Land

Associate vice president, IU Communications

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