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Condoleezza Rice to deliver Commencement address

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will address the Boston College Class of 2006 at the 130th Commencement Exercises on Monday, May 22, at Alumni Stadium.

Rice will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. [rain location: Conte Forum]. Degrees will be presented to more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Rice was President George W. Bush's national security adviser for four years before she became secretary of state on Jan. 26, 2005. From 1993 to 1999 she served as provost of Stanford University, where she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and an academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students. Rice joined Stanford's faculty in 1981. As a professor of political science and Hoover Institution senior fellow, her teaching and research interests included the politics of East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, the comparative study of military institutions, and international security policy. She won two of the university's highest teaching honors -- the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching. From 1989 through March 1991, the period of German reunification and the final days of the Soviet Union, Rice served in the administration of President George H. W. Bush as director, and then senior director, of Soviet and East European affairs in the National Security Council, and as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. During the 2000 presidential campaign, she served as a top foreign policy adviser to George W. Bush.

Honorary degrees will be presented to three other distinguished individuals: Kenneth Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services and a 1968 graduate of Boston College, whose career has focused on aiding the poor and disenfranchised throughout the world; Pierre Imbert, who fled political oppression in his native Haiti more than two decades ago and who last year was named director of the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants; and Sister Elizabeth S. White, RSCJ, who influenced and helped shape the values of countless young women and men during more than five decades in higher education at Newton College of the Sacred Heart and at Boston College.

"I am delighted that students graduating from Boston College and their parents will be able to hear remarks from Dr. Condoleezza Rice, a person who has excelled in academics, diplomacy and public service," said Rev. William P. Leahy, SJ, 25th president of Boston College. "I welcome her and our honorary degree recipients to BC on May 22."

With a commitment to human rights and social justice, Kenneth Hackett is the driving force behind Catholic Relief Services, one of the world's most effective and efficient relief and development agencies. As president of CRS, an organization he joined more than 30 years ago, Hackett oversees operations in 99 countries and commands a global staff of more than 4,000.

A native of West Roxbury, Mass., Hackett joined the Peace Corps after graduating from BC and was assigned to serve in Ghana. Hackett started his career with CRS in Sierra Leone and has served CRS in posts throughout Africa and in the Philippines, as well as a variety of positions at CRS headquarters. In July 1993, Hackett was named Executive Director of CRS. He was appointed president in 2003. Boston College will present Hackett with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Pierre Imbert grew up in poverty on the island of Haiti before coming to America, where he worked as a dishwasher to put himself through University of Massachusetts-Boston. He led Catholic Charities' Haitian Multi-Service Center as its director for more than 10 years before being appointed by Gov. Mitt Romney as executive director of the Office of Refugees and Immigrants and chief advocate of immigrants and refugees in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Under Imbert's direction, ORI administers the federally funded Massachusetts refugee resettlement program. Refugee services include case management, employment services, transitional cash and medical assistance, English language instruction, health screening and foster care for unaccompanied minors. The office also supports a network of refugee community organizations, refugee youth and elder services and refugee citizenship assistance services. Imbert will receive an honorary Doctor of of Public Administration degree.

Sister Elizabeth S. White, a specialist in English literature, came to Newton College of the Sacred Heart in 1948 as one of the founding sisters and taught there until it merged with Boston College in 1975. After the merger, Sister White joined the English Department and the Honors Program at Boston College as a professor. She entered the order of the Religious of the Sacred Heart in 1942 and made her final vows in Rome in 1950.

Sister Elizabeth will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in recognition of her lifelong commitment as a Religious of the Sacred Heart to the ministry of teaching.

-Office of Public Affairs


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