Dr. Paul Farmer is the founder of the international non-profit organization Partners In Health. (Photo by Mark Rosenberg. Copyright 2002 � Partners In Health.)
Dr. Farmer to Receive Degree, Address Graduates
Boston Archbishop O'Malley also among honorary degree recipients
By Sean Smith
Dr. Paul Farmer, whose humanitarian efforts in Haiti have served as an inspiration for the University community, will address the Boston College Class of 2005 at the annual Commencement Exercises on May 23.
A medical anthropologist, physician and founder of the international non-profit organization Partners In Health, Farmer will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremonies, which begin at 10 a.m. and will be held in Conte Forum in the case of rain.
Joining Farmer as this year's honorary degree recipients will be Boston Archbishop Rev. Sean P. O'Malley, OFM, Cap., as well as a trio of educators: Emmanuel College President Sister Janet Eisner, SND, MA'69; Xavier University of Louisiana President Norman C. Francis; and Sara Martinez Tucker, president and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Also receiving an honorary degree is retired Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who drew widespread praise for his efforts as commander of the United Nations Mission to Rwanda to stem the 1994 massacres in that country.
Farmer's work among the sick and impoverished of Haiti has been chronicled by author Tracy Kidder in the acclaimed book Mountains Beyond Mountains. Farmer and Kidder were the featured speakers at Boston College's inaugural First Year Academic Convocation last September, for which all entering freshmen were required to read Mountains Beyond Mountains.
The book also was the basis for "Alumni Conversations," an on-line discussion series recently launched by the BC Alumni Association to foster a continuing academic and intellectual relationship between graduates and the University.
A native of North Adams, Mass., Farmer began his lifelong commitment to Haiti as a medical student in 1983. In 1985 he helped found Zanmi Lasante - Creole for "Partners In Health" - to provide direct health care, research and advocacy activities on behalf of those living in poverty.
Farmer played a key role in enabling Haiti to qualify in 2002 as one of the first group of countries awarded money from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He also helped lead the international response to drug-resistant strains of TB found in the former Soviet Union.
Since Rev. Sean P. O'Malley, OFM, Cap., was named Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Boston in July of 2003, he has worked to rebuild the relationship between the laity and the Catholic Church in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Weeks after his installation, he reached a landmark settlement with 550 people who claimed to have been sexually abused by priests. In addition to financial compensation, the settlement offered victims mental health counseling as well as a role in Boston Archdiocese initiatives to address sexual abuse issues.
Archbishop O'Malley made a positive first impression on many in the Boston Archdiocese with his modest demeanor and lifestyle, choosing the South End as his place of residence and continuing to wear his Capuchin sandals and simple brown frock.
The archbishop also has cultivated a working relationship with Boston College. In January 2004, he made the opening address at a BC-sponsored conference on clergy sexual abuse, and, in April of that same year, he approved the sale of 43 acres of the Archdiocese's Brighton Campus to the University.
The Ohio native joined the Capuchin order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1970. Archbishop O'Malley, who holds a doctorate from the Catholic University of America and speaks six languages, has been hailed throughout his career for ministering to immigrant populations in Washington, DC, the US Virgin Islands - where he served as bishop - and elsewhere.
He will receive an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree at Commencement.
A decorated lieutenant general, Romeo Dallaire served for 35 years with the Canadian Armed Forces. In early 1994, while commanding the United Nations Mission to Rwanda, he saw clear indications that the country's extremist Hutus were about to inflict wide-spread slaughter on Tutsis and moderate Hutus. After unsuccessfully pleading with the UN, the United States and the rest of the international community to intervene, Dallaire disobeyed orders to withdraw his peacekeeping forces and managed to maintain safe areas for some 20,000 people.
Dallaire, who battled depression and thoughts of suicide following his return to Canada, has recounted his perspective on the tragedy in the book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. He is now involved in efforts to assist children affected by war and conflict.
A member of the Canadian Senate, he has received a fellowship at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government to pursue his research in conflict resolution.
Dallaire - who spoke at BC last November - will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from BC.
Appointed president of Emmanuel College in 1979, Sister Janet Eisner, SND, has been credited with fostering exceptional innovation, achievement and growth at the Catholic, coeducational, liberal arts and sciences college founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Sister Eisner has led strategic planning efforts, introduced major campus technology initiatives, developed academic programs for adult students and expanded career-oriented internship opportunities. Most recently, she guided the traditionally all-female college through its decision to become coeducational.
One of Sister Eisner's most important educational achievements was her founding vision for the Colleges of the Fenway. This consortium, begun in 1996, includes Emmanuel, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Massachusetts College of Art, Simmons College, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Wheelock College. Undergraduate students can cross-register for courses at the other five colleges at no additional cost, have access to libraries, labs and bookstores, and pay the same low fees for events such as lectures, plays and concerts on any of the six campuses.
Sister Eisner will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
As president of the nation's only historically black, Catholic university since 1968, Norman C. Francis has guided Xavier University of Louisiana's growth in size and dimension. During his tenure, Xavier University of Louisiana has more than doubled its enrollment, broadened its curriculum, expanded its campus and strengthened its financial base.
Among the major accomplishments of Francis' tenure has been the successful completion of Xavier's first two capital campaigns, which funded a new academic/science complex, the construction of a library/resource center and Xavier's College of Pharmacy, and tripled the university endowment to $54 million.
Francis has served in an advisory role to four presidential administrations, including the historic National Commission on Excellence in Education.
He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
In 1997, Sara Martinez Tucker became president and CEO of the nation's leading organization supporting Hispanic higher education, which since its founding in 1975 has awarded some 73,000 scholarships totaling nearly $170 million to students attending 1,700 universities and colleges throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Guam.
Under Martinez Tucker's leadership, the organization's support for Hispanic students has dramatically increased and expanded. Annual scholarship giving has risen from $3 million in 1996 to more than $25 million in each of the last three years.
Martinez Tucker also created and initiated new support programs to put more Hispanics in the college education pipeline, in the process transforming the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's focus beyond college retention. The organization initiated outreach programs to engage parents, increase college expectation in Latino families and within the Hispanic community and help students prepare for college.
Prior to taking the reins at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Martinez Tucker spent 16 years at AT&T, where in 1990 she became the first Hispanic woman to reach the company's executive level as director of human resources and quality for the Network Services Division.
Martinez Tucker will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.