120th Commencement Exercises

Fr. Monan, Bill Cosby To Address Grads

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

Boston College will honor its longest-serving president, and a major entertainer and author, when it includes J. Donald Monan, SJ, and Bill Cosby among the honorary degree recipients at its 120th Commencement Exercises on Monday, May 20 in Alumni Stadium.

Fr. Monan, who will preside over his 24th and final Commencement as University president, will deliver the presidential address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. Cosby will address the graduates and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Also receiving honorary degrees at Commencement will be: University of Massachusetts President William M. Bulger; United Way executive Marian L. Heard; and pediatrician and author T. Berry Brazelton, MD.

In addition, Commencement will feature the first presentation of the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Award for Distinguished Citizenship. Fr. Monan will present the honor to Michael Mansfield, the former United States Senate majority leader and ambassador to Japan.

J. Donald Monan, SJ

When Fr. Monan assumed the presidency in 1972, Boston College was a predominantly male, commuter school on the brink of financial collapse. As he prepares to move from that position into the new post of University chancellor this summer, Boston College is a prosperous, co-educational university that is counted among the nation's elite institutions of higher learning.

His presidency is marked by the University's ascendancy in nearly every area. Following almost two-and-a-half decades of careful and innovative planning, Boston College now fields over 16,000 applications for undergraduate admission annually, has an endowment in excess of $500 million, and has academic programs rated among the nation's best by US News & World Report and Barron's .

Since announcing his intention to step down from the presidency in February 1994, Fr. Monan has initiated two major strategic efforts that will guide the University into the next century. The University Academic Planning Council is in the final stages of developing a set of long-term goals and priorities for the University, while the recently begun Project Delta will find ways to increase institutional efficiency and productivity as the higher education environment becomes increasingly competitive.

Born in Blasdell, NY, in 1924, Fr. Monan entered the Society of Jesus in 1942 and was ordained in 1955. He holds a doctoral degree from the University of Louvain in Belgium. His publications include Moral Knowledge and its Methodology in Aristotle and, as co-author, A Prelude to Metaphysics .

He has received honorary degrees from Harvard, Northeastern and Loyola (Chicago) universities, the National University of Ireland, New England School of Law, St. Joseph College, the University of Massachusetts and LeMoyne College, where he was chairman of the philosophy department and later academic dean and vice president until 1972.

Fr. Monan is former chairman of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts.

He is a member of the executive committee of the WGBH Educational Foundation and a member of the board of overseers of the Boston Plan for Excellence in Public Schools. His current directorships include the Governor's International Trade Advisory Board, the First National and Bank of Boston Corporations, National One to One and the Boston Higher Education Partnership. He is co-chair of Greater Boston One to One.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby, known for his work in comedy on the stage, in the recording industry and on television for three decades, is also distinguished for his commitment to education. Cosby received a bachelor's degree from Temple University in his hometown of Philadelphia before beginning his entertainment career. After he had achieved much of his success, Cosby enrolled at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he earned a master's degree in 1972 and a doctoral degree in education in 1977.

He has applied the research connected to his dissertation, "The Integration of Visual Media Via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Into the Elementary Schools Culminating as a Teacher Aid to Achieve Increased Learning," to many of his television shows.

Cosby has demonstrated a commitment to higher education in the years since. He is a trustee of Temple University and he and his wife, Camille, have made several substantial gifts to educational institutions. Most recently, they presented a $20 million gift to Spelman College, a liberal arts college for African-American women in Atlanta, to build the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Academic Center.

Cosby regularly includes educational themes in much of his work. For example, he dedicated the final episode of "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984-92, to a portrayal of Theo, his son on the show, graduating from college.

In addition to his career in comedy, he has written and produced two educational television shows, filmed numerous television specials and authored several books, including Fatherhood - the fastest-selling hardcover book of all time - Time Flies, Love and Marriage and Childhood .

William M. Bulger

Bulger assumed the presidency of the University of Massachusetts in January after a long career as one of the most influential public officials in Massachusetts. He represented his South Boston district in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1961 until his election to the Massachusetts Senate in 1970. In 1978, he was elected Senate president and chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules, posts he held until he left the Legislature. During his 18 years as Senate president, Bulger played a major role in shaping the public agenda in Massachusetts.

Bulger was an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School from 1984-89 and a part-time faculty member of the Political Science Department at Boston College from January 1994 to December 1995.

He is on the board of trustees of the Boston Public Library, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In addition, he is on the board of overseers at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a corporator at the Children's Museum and the Winsor School.

Bulger, who recently published his memoir, While the Music Lasts: My Life in Politics , holds bachelor's and law degrees from Boston College.

The University will confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Bulger at Commencement.

Marian L. Heard

Heard, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and chief executive officer of the United Ways of New England since 1992, has spent most of her career in human service organizations. Prior to her present position, she served for 17 years at the United Way of Eastern Fairfield County in Bridgeport, Conn., spending her last three years there as president and chief executive officer. Previously, she was executive director of Inner-City Children's Center in Bridgeport, a moderator at WICC Radio in Bridgeport and owner of Heard Typing Services.

She has received several honors, including the New England Council for Top Women in Business in New England Award, the New England Women's Leadership Award in the Human Services Category and the American Society for Public Administration's Distinguished Public Citizen's Award.

Heard is a member of the board of directors of Fleet Bank, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., and the New England Aquarium. She is a trustee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and serves on the leadership council of Greater Boston One to One and on the board of National One to One. Recently, she was appointed by Gov. William Weld to the Massachusetts National and Community Service Commission, which was created to foster an ethic of service in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Heard will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Administration degree at Commencement.

T. Berry Brazelton, MD

Brazelton, co-founder of the Child Development Unit - a pediatric training and research center - at Children's Hospital in Boston, has held appointments as clinical professor of pediatrics emeritus at Harvard Medical School and professor of psychiatry and human development at Brown University since 1988.

The author of 26 books on pediatrics and child development, including Infants and Mothers , which has been translated into 18 languages, and Working and Caring , Brazelton is also a regular contributor to Family Circle and writes a weekly column syndicated by the New York Times . His books What Every Baby Knows and Families: Crisis and Caring have been featured in his "Lifetime" television series.

Brazelton also is the creator of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, known as "the Brazelton," an evaluation tool used worldwide to assess not only the physical and neurological responses of newborns, but also their emotional well-being and individual differences.

Brazelton will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Boston College.

Commencement Exercises will begin at 10 a.m. In the event of rain, Commencement will take place in Conte Forum.

The Office of the University Secretary now offers a World Wide Web site containing information about Commencement 1996. The URL is http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/prs/uscty/graduation/commencement96.html.

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