Gilligan to Be MHC Commencement Speaker

Posted: April 18, 2008

Noted psychologist and author Carol Gilligan will give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree at the 171st Mount Holyoke College commencement Sunday, May 25. Three others will also receive honorary degrees from the College: mathematician Mary W. Gray, Harvard University law professor Charles Ogletree, and philanthropist Harriet Levine Weissman '58.

Gilligan, University Professor at New York University, is the author of the groundbreaking 1982 book In a Different Voice, which challenged the masculine bias of psychological theories on the development of self. She visited Mount Holyoke early this year to read from and discuss her first novel, Kyra.

Senior Sally J. Brzozowski of Goffstown, New Hampshire, has been chosen to speak for the graduating class. Graduating senior Alexandra Toomey, of Rockville Center, New York, will speak at the College baccalaureate service Saturday, May 24; Sarah Binns of Portland, Oregon, will read poetry during the same event.

"This is a truly distinguished list of speakers and honorees. I'm very pleased with this outstanding slate," said President Joanne V. Creighton. "We are proud to honor them and give them the opportunity to share their inspiring stories with the graduating class of 2008."

Carol Gilligan, Doctor of Humane Letters
Commencement Speaker

Carol GilliganCarol Gilligan received an A.B. in English literature from Swarthmore College, a master's degree in clinical psychology from Radcliffe College, and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University. Her landmark book In A Different Voice (1982) is described by Harvard University Press as "the little book that started a revolution." Following the success of that publication, she initiated the Harvard Project on Women's Psychology and Girls' Development and coauthored or edited five books with her students: Mapping the Moral Domain (1988); Making Connections (1990); Women, Girls, and Psychotherapy: Reframing Resistance (1991); Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development (1992)-a New York Times Notable Book of the Year-and Between Voice and Silence: Women and Girls, Race and Relationships (1995). Her 2002 book, The Birth of Pleasure, was described by the Times Literary Supplement as "a thrilling new paradigm."

Gilligan was a member of the Harvard faculty for more than 30 years and in 1997 became Harvard's first professor of gender studies, occupying the Patricia Albjerg Graham chair. In 1992, she was Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge. In 2002, she became University Professor at New York University, with affiliations in the School of Law, the Steinhardt School of Education, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is also a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge, affiliated with the Centre for Gender Studies and with Jesus College. She has received many awards, including a senior research scholar award from the Spencer Foundation, a Grawemeyer Award for her contributions to education, and a Heinz Award for her contributions to understanding the human condition. In addition, she was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans in 1996.

Mary W. Gray, Doctor of Humane Letters

Mary GrayMary W. Gray is the author of books and papers in the fields of mathematics, mathematics education, computer science, applied statistics, economic equity, discrimination law, and academic freedom. She has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Her current research interests include applications of statistics in litigation, ethical issues in statistics, intellectual property and academic freedom, and language and gender issues in mathematics. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Karim Rida Said Foundation in London.

Gray has served as consultant and expert witness on issues of university governance, academic freedom and tenure, faculty personnel policies, economic equity, and technology in higher education in the United States, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. She has a visiting appointment at the King's College School of Medicine in London. In 2001 she visited the three Kurdish provinces of Iraq (Dohuk, Erbil, and Sulemaniya) to consult on issues in higher education, human rights, technology, and the conduct of a population census. During 2003, she worked on the USAID project Revitalization of Iraqi Schools/Stabilization of Education, focusing on an inventory of the secondary schools of Iraq and community interviews with Iraqi parents and teachers. In 2005 she began advising the Kurdistan Regional Government on information technology issues and the conduct of a census.

The first president of the Association for Women in Mathematics, past president of the Women's Equity Action League, and president-elect of the Caucus for Women in Statistics, Gray has been a member of boards and committees of such organizations as Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Middle East Education Foundation, the Universal Education Foundation, and the American Association of University Professors. She has served as vice president of the American Mathematical Society, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was recently elected to membership in the International Statistical Institute. She was presented the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Mentoring.

Gray earned her undergraduate degree from Hastings College and her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She also has a J.D. degree from Washington College of Law, American University, and is a member of the District of Columbia and U.S. Supreme bars.

Charles Ogletree, Doctor of Law

Charles OgletreeCharles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and vice dean for the clinical programs, is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by examining complex issues of law and working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. Ogletree has tackled such issues in the classroom, on the Internet, and in law journals, as well as in the everyday world of the courtroom public defender and in public television forums. Ogletree is known for spotlighting the challenges that face the justice system in attempt to deliver equal treatment to all citizens--and for insisting the justice system protect rights guaranteed to those citizens by law.

Ogletree earned an M.A. and a B.A. in political science from Stanford University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He also holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as special projects editor of the Harvard Civil Rights--Civil Liberties Law Review. He is the author of All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education (2004) and coauthor of the award-winning book, Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct in Minority Communities. He frequently contributes to the Harvard Law Review and other publications. In 1991, he served as legal counsel to professor Anita Hill during the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas.

In 2003, Ogletree was selected by Savoy Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in America and by Black Enterprise Magazine, along with Thurgood Marshall, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., and Constance Baker Motley, as one of the legal legends among America's top black lawyers. In 2002, he received the National Bar Association's prestigious Equal Justice Award; he was selected by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America in 2000.

Harriet Levine Weissman '58, Doctor of Humane Letters

Harriet Levine WeissmanHarriet Levine Weissman graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1958 as a history major with a minor in English literature. She is an experienced leader in the arts and philanthropy and is widely recognized for her extraordinary service to Mount Holyoke, including her work as cochair of the five-year Advancing Our Legacy of Leadership campaign that raised $257 million to strengthen the College's global leadership position as an institution of liberal arts education for women.

Weissman has been a member of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum Advisory Board since 1985. In memory of professor Henry Rox, she and her husband Paul, her partner in philanthropy, dedicated a collection of works on paper by contemporary American women artists, which, as The Graphic Muse, traveled to major American museums as part of the College's Sesquicentennial celebration. In 2000, a fundraising challenge initiated by the Weissmans helped expand the Art Museum with much improved exhibition space.

Weissman provided a decade of leadership to the College as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2007, and as vice chair of the Board from 2004 to 2007. In 1999, she and her husband helped guide the merger of the Center for Leadership and Public Interest Advocacy and the Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program into what is now the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts. Weissman and her husband have also initiated and endowed Harvard's Weissman International Internship Program, the Weissman Scholars, and the Weissman Preservation Center for the Harvard University Library, as well as a visiting artists lecture series and a scholarship program at Connecticut College. In addition, the couple have extended their support of education to Rye Country Day School and the Hopkins School, where they established and endowed minority scholarships.

A devotee of the arts, Weissman has focused her career and many volunteer activities in this arena. She is the founding director (1974) of the Museum Gallery of the White Plains Public Library and has served on the board of library foundation since 1999. As director she has curated and designed more than 150 exhibitions, presented gallery-related art events, produced related programs for Public Access Television, supervised public relations, and coordinated budgets and grant solicitations. She has won several awards from the American Library Association for promotional material.

In addition, Weissman is a former member, chair, and president of the board of the Neuberger Museum of Art at the State University of New York at Purchase College, SUNY. She served as an overseer of the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and has been a board member since 2004 for Expeditionary Learning Schools/Outward Bound. Prior to her position as library gallery director, Weissman worked as promotion coordinator for Simon & Schuster's educational division and was the assistant to the president of the educational division of Affiliated Publishers.

In recognition of her dedicated support of the College, Weissman was presented the Alumnae Association Award in 2003. For her contribution to the arts in Westchester County, she was the recipient of the 1997 Arts Award given by the Westchester Arts Council.

Related Links:

Carol Gilligan Warmly Received at MHC

Carol Gilligan

Mary W. Gray

Charles Ogletree

Weissman Center for Leadership & the Liberal Arts