May 25, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 18
2006 Honorary Degree Citations
Kenneth F. Hackett
Native of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, and a member of the Boston College Class of 1968, Kenneth Hackett is truly a "man for others" who has used his life, talents, and education to alleviate the suffering of the disenfranchised and hungry in all parts of our planet. Discovering his calling to international service while in the Peace Corps in Ghana, he joined Catholic Relief Services as Program Director in Sierra Leone in 1972. During the next three decades, he confronted some of humanity's worst tragedies: in Ethiopia in the 1980s where he oversaw the largest project in the history of Catholic Relief Services, and East Africa in the 1990s where he directed the Agency's response to the crisis in Somalia.
In 1993 he was named Executive Director of Catholic Relief Services and 10 years later was appointed President of this worldwide agency that supports 4,000 relief workers in 99 countries.
A man who embodies the mission of Catholic Relief Services "to assist the poor and disadvantaged, leveraging the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to alleviate human suffering," Boston College acknowledges his unwavering commitment to human rights and social justice as a model for today's graduates and declares Kenneth Hackett Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Pierre Jona Imbert
Born and raised in poverty in Haiti, Pierre Imbert fled his native land in the 1980s to avoid political persecution and rose to become a leader of the 50,000-member Haitian community in the Boston area. A recipient of the 1997 Catholic Charities Medal, he was recognized in 1999 by the Boston Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of Boston's "10 Outstanding Young Leaders."
Last year, after more than 10 years of service as Executive Director of the Haitian Multi-Service Center in Dorchester, he was appointed Director of the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants. In today's volatile and sometimes acrimonious national debate on immigration, he is charged with welcoming and supporting the growing immigrant population of the Commonwealth.
Recognizing the critical importance of his success in supporting the health, welfare, and integration of the hundreds of thousands from other lands who have come to our shores to start new lives and enrich our society, Boston College salutes his commitment and declares Pierre Imbert Doctor of Public Administration, honoris causa.
The 66th Secretary of State in the history of our country and fourth in the order of presidential succession, Condoleezza Rice is equally at home and accomplished in the worlds of academe and diplomacy. A fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and former professor of political science and provost at Stanford University, she received her university's two highest awards for excellence in teaching and established herself as an expert in Soviet and European foreign and defense policy, authoring The Gorbachev Era and Germany Unified and Europe Transformed.
Through the tumultuous period of German reunification and the dying days of the Soviet Union, she served as Senior Director of Soviet and Eastern European Affairs in the National Security Council and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 2001, she became National Security Advisor and in 2005 was appointed Secretary of State. In January of this year, she stated that the United States desires "to help foreign citizens better their own lives and to build their own nations and to transform their own futures."
Boston College applauds her lifelong pursuit of excellence and her selfless commitment to public service and declares Condoleezza Rice Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Elizabeth S. White, RSCJ
Sister Elizabeth White's lifelong commitment to teaching as a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart has awakened intellects, shaped values, and changed lives for countless young women and men throughout the second half of the 20th century and now firmly into the 21st. Faithful to her religious congregation's mission, she sought "to make known the love of the Heart of Christ through the service of education."
Her six decades of inspired teaching and careful scholarship in Medieval and Renaissance English at the Newton College of the Sacred Heart and Boston College have been a generous response to her calling to be a woman and an apostle serving God's people in faith, love, and compassion. The Boston College community is deeply indebted for all that she has done, but even more for who she has been: a gentle and reassuring presence among us whose life of commitment has taught successive generations the meaning of dedication and fidelity.
With gratitude and admiration, Boston College declares Sister Elizabeth White Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. •