Deval Patrick to Deliver Tufts Commencement Address

Massachusetts Governor to Receive Honorary Degree on May 17; Will Be Joined by Distinguished Broadcast Executive, Foreign Affairs Expert, Advocate for the Homeless, Foundation Head, Astrophysicist, Cancer Researcher

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will deliver the commencement address at Tufts University on Sunday, May 17, 2009.

"In these challenging economic times, we need to reaffirm the importance of education to both the individual and society," said Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow. "It is through education that we prepare the next generation to assume positions of leadership in society, and it is through scholarship that we address the great questions of our time. Governor Deval Patrick's personal journey from the south side of Chicago to the highest reaches of society speaks to the transformative power of education. We are grateful to him for sharing his insights with this year's graduates as they prepare to put into practice what they have learned at Tufts."

Patrick was elected governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2006. Born and raised on Chicago's south side, he received a scholarship to Milton Academy at the age of 14 and was graduated from Harvard with honors in 1978, the first in his family to attend college. After a year working on a UN project in Sudan, he returned to Harvard to earn a law degree. His illustrious career has included serving in the Clinton Administration as assistant attorney general for civil rights, the nation's top civil rights post; as chair of Texaco's Equality and Fairness Task Force, widely recognized for creating a model for fostering an equitable workplace; and as vice president and general counsel for Texaco. Patrick later became executive vice president and general counsel for the Coca-Cola Company. He has served on numerous charitable and corporate boards as well as the Federal Election Reform Commission under Presidents Carter and Ford. 
At commencement, to be held at 9 a.m. on the green on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus, Patrick will receive an honorary doctorate of laws. Six other distinguished leaders will also receive honorary doctorates:
David Burke, Tufts alumnus whose career reflects a commitment to public service and civic engagement through senior positions with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Gov. Hugh Carey (D-N.Y.), ABC News, CBS News, the Dreyfus Corporationand the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe;  honorary doctorate of humane letters;

Leslie H. Gelb, Tufts alumnus, president emeritus and board senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, and respected voice in journalism, politics, academia and public policy; honorary doctorate of laws. On Saturday, May 16, Gelb will also address graduates of The Fletcher School during their annual Class Day ceremonies.

Sister Margaret Leonard, LSA, executive director and moving spirit behind Boston's Project Hope, a community-based multi-service agency dedicated to preventing homelessness; honorary doctorate of public service;

Patricia Q. Stonesifer, founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chair of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, whose career also included 20 years in the technology sector, including leading Microsoft's consumer products division spanning Encarta,, Expedia and MSN;honorary doctorate of  public service;

C. Megan Urry, Tufts alumna, Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University, director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and chair of the physics department at Yale; honorary doctorate of science; 

Robert A. Weinberg, a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the director of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; honorary doctorate of science.



About Tufts University
Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.


Back to Top