555 to be Awarded Diplomas at Mount Holyoke's 168th Commencement

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 12:00pm

For immediate release
May 16, 2005

NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg to be honored,
along with Spelman President Beverly Daniel Tatum, NASA physicist Barbara Wilson '68, and noted
Thai pharmacist Krisana Kraisintu

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio's award-winning legal affairs correspondent, will be the speaker at Mount Holyoke College's 168th commencement on Sunday, May 22, at which 555 seniors are to receive degrees. Totenberg will be joined by honorary degree recipients Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College and former dean of Mount Holyoke; Barbara Wilson, program manager for the Center for Space Microelectronics Technology at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a 1968 graduate of Mount Holyoke; and Krisana Kraisintu of the German Medical Aid Organization, who successfully fought for universal access to AIDS drugs in southeast Asia and is now doing the same in Africa.

Commencement ceremonies begin at 10:30 am in Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheater. In the event of rain, ceremonies will be held in Kendall Field House.

Saturday, May 21, features two of the College's most cherished and time-honored commencement traditions: the alumnae parade and laurel chain ceremony, and the canoe sing. At 9 AM at Woolley Circle, members of the class of 2005 will be led by alumnae "loyalty classes" in a procession to Mary Lyon's grave, carrying a chain of garland that they will place at the gravesite. They will join in singing "Bread and Roses," a song that became the anthem of workers who went on strike at a textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912, demanding reasonable hours and pay. The canoe sing begins at 10:30 PM, on Lower Lake. Twelve canoes, each decorated with lanterns and seating three seniors chosen by lottery, will illuminate the lake while changing formations. Seniors on the banks of the lake will join those in canoes in singing previously rehearsed songs.

President Joanne V. Creighton will preside over commencement, which begins on Sunday at 10:30 AM. Five hundred and fifty-five seniors are expected to receive bachelor of arts degrees; among them are 45 Frances Perkins Scholars. 22 certificates for international students and two masters degrees will also be awarded.

About the honorary degree recipients:

Nina Totenberg
Nina Totenberg is widely regarded as one of the nation's leading law reporters. Her reports on the Supreme Court and legal affairs are heard regularly on NPR's newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition. She is also a regular panelist on Inside Washington, a weekly syndicated public affairs program. A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in the New York Times Magazine, the Harvard Law Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine, and others.

Her groundbreaking 1991 report on Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to reopen Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage -- anchored by Totenberg -- of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Hill's allegations, and for Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Hill. Totenberg was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation. She is the first radio journalist to receive the award.

Beverly Daniel Tatum
Scholar, teacher, author, administrator, and race relations expert, Tatum is the ninth president of Spelman College. Prior to her appointment to the Spelman presidency in 2002, she spent 13 years at Mount Holyoke College, serving in various roles during her tenure there as professor of psychology, department chair, dean of the College, and acting president.

Tatum is a clinical psychologist whose areas of research interest include black families in white communities, racial identity in teens, and the role of race in the classroom. For more than 20 years, she has taught a course on the psychology of racism. She has also toured extensively, leading workshops on racial identity development and its impact in the classroom.

In her critically acclaimed 1997 book, "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Conversations about Race, she applies her expertise on race to argue that straight talk about racial identity is essential to the nation. She is also the author of 1987's Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community and has published numerous articles, including her classic 1992 Harvard Educational Review article, "Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: An Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom."

Barbara Wilson, class of 1968
Wilson is program manager for the Center for Space Microelectronics Technology at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and also serves as JPL's chief technologist.

A physicist with a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke, Wilson joined JPL in 1988 as technical group supervisor of the Microdevices Section. Shortly thereafter she was named manager of the Microdevices Laboratory, a facility operating under the umbrella of the Center for Space Microelectronics Technology.

She most recently served as program manager for JPL's Earth Science Program Office and technologist for NASA's New Millennium Program, which sponsors spacecraft missions designed to test new technologies so that they may be confidently used on science missions of the future. She is the recipient of the NASA Special Achievement Medal for her contributions to the New Millennium Program.

Krisana Kraisintu
Kraisintu, a noted Thai pharmacist, is working with the German Medical Aid Organization to develop locally produced, affordable generic drugs for impoverished AIDS patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, and Tanzania.

Kraisintu's work to broaden the availability of AIDS drugs in southeast Asia earned her the title "AIDS Warrior" from her peers. Through her work, 70,000 AIDS/HIV patients in Thailand and an additional 30,000 patients in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam were able to gain access to affordable treatment. Kraisintu and her research team have worked on formulation development and bioequivalence studies of HIV/AIDS -related drugs since 1992. Thailand became the first developing country to make these affordable drugs relatively widely available.

Kraisintu received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Chiengmai University, Thailand in 1975, a master's in pharmaceutical analysis from Strathclyde University, U.K. in 1978, and a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry from Bath University, U.K. in 1981. For the past 22 years, she has worked in the pharmaceutical industry in various roles of quality assurance, manufacturing, research and development, and business development for the discovery, development, and commercialization of chemical and natural pharmaceutical products.

Kraisintu received a Gold Medal at Eureka 50th World Exhibition of Innovation, Research, and New Technology in Brussels in 2001, and a Global Scientific Award in 2004 from the Letten Foundation as recognition of her outstanding scientific contribution in the field of HIV/AIDS.

Chosen to speak for the graduating class is American studies major Claudia Y. Calhoun of Houston, Texas.

To better accommodate the graduating seniors and their families, Gettell has been expanded by approximately 160 seats, bringing its capacity to just over 3,000.