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Madeleine Albright to speak at Mount Holyoke Commencement
South Hadley, Massachusetts--On Sunday, May 25, Madeleine K. Albright, the first woman U.S. Secretary of State, will deliver Mount Holyoke College's 160th commencement address at the college which produced the first woman presidential cabinet member, Frances Perkins.
Commencement ceremonies will take place on Sunday, May 25 at 10:30 am at the Gettell Amphitheater on the Mount Holyoke campus.
Albright, confirmed earlier this year as Secretary of State, was formerly the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. A member since 1993 of President Clinton's cabinet and the National Security Council, she has had a long and distinguished career as a diplomat, policy analyst, and scholar. Among many other positions, she has served as president of the Center for National Policy and as Donner Professor of International Affairs and director of the Women in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
"Mount Holyoke College is honored that Secretary Albright has agreed to speak at the college," said Mount Holyoke President Joanne V. Creighton. "Not only is Albright a superbly capable public servant, she is a woman who will use her substantial influence to continue this country's international advocacy for rights and opportunities for women and girls throughout the world."
Albright will speak at the college in the year that Mount Holyoke is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its pioneering founder, Mary Lyon--a woman whose commitment to higher education for women strongly influenced the course of American higher education. In 1902, the College also graduated Frances Perkins who went on to serve as Labor Secretary under President Franklin Roosevelt. Perkins was the first women to occupy a cabinet level post.
Albright will receive an honorary degree along with five other individuals.
In addition to Albright, four women and one man will receive honorary degrees for their distinguished contributions in fields ranging from neurophysiology to literature:
Linda Chavez-Thompson, first executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, has more than a quarter-century's experience as a feisty and effective labor leader. She began working at age ten, spending summers working with her parents in the cotton fields of west Texas. She successfully organized workers for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in the union-hostile Southwest, and rose to be its international vice president before joining the AFL-CIO's executive council. As a Hispanic woman (the first on the union's executive council), she represents the fastest growing segment of organized workers and personifies the changing face of labor.
Aminata Sow Fall has been described as the most important Senegalese writer of her generation. Her novel Le revenant (The Ghost) was the first ever published by a French-speaking African woman. In four subsequent novels, her work has increased international understanding of post-colonial West African culture and the place of women within that culture.
Gloria Johnson Powell '58 is a professor of child psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School and director of the Camille Cosby Ambulatory Care Center at the Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston. In addition to her many contributions as a physician, Powell was active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, including work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She served as an MHC alumna trustee from 1976 to 1980.
Anneli Cahn Lax is professor emeritus of mathematics at New York University, and one of her generation's best researchers in applied mathematics. While raising her family, Lax balanced work and home life and became known for her sensitivity to young women entering professional mathematics. She worked hard to improve mathematics teaching, and won the Mathematical Association of America's highest honor for editing their New Mathematical Library series.
Arturo Madrid is Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in Texas. He has made outstanding contributions to developing the intellectual resources of the Latino community, and produced pioneering scholarship on Chicano literary and cultural expression. Madrid's career as an educator, scholar, and activist has had a major influence on the national articulation, critical examination, support, and defense of Latino concerns in the United States.