123rd Commencement Exercises

Secretary of Energy Will Address Grads

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

United States Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, a former United Nations ambassador who as a diplomatic trouble-shooter helped free prisoners in Bangladesh, Cuba and Iraq, will deliver the main address and receive an honorary degree at Boston College's 123rd Commencement Exercises on May 24 in Alumni Stadium.

Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble, Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, author and National Book Award winner Alice McDermott, and Boston Foundation CEO Anna Faith Jones also will receive honorary degrees.

'99 Commencement live on the Web
University President William P. Leahy, SJ, noted that all those receiving honorary degrees at this year's Commencement have achieved much and have used their talents for the good of others.

"Secretary Richardson, Anna Faith Jones, Alice McDermott, Bill Russell and David Trimble have worked to make our world a better place, and in doing so, they offer both inspiration and challenge to all of us at Boston College," Fr. Leahy said.

Richardson, the highest-ranking Hispanic in the Clinton Administration, became the first person in history to hold two Cabinet posts at the same time when he took over as energy secretary in August 1998 while still serving as US ambassador to the United Nations. He has served as President Clinton's special envoy on many sensitive diplomatic missions and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Richardson is a former Democratic congressman, elected eight times to the House of Representatives from New Mexico's 3rd District. He is a graduate of Tufts University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Commencement.

Bill Richardson

Trimble, Protestant leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, shared the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with Catholic political leader John Hume for efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland. The former university lecturer has represented the Northern Irish seat of Upper Bann in the British Parliament since 1990. Boston College will present Trimble with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Russell, one of the greatest players in the history of the National Basketball Association, led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships in his 13 seasons as a player and coach from 1956-69. He revolutionized defensive play with his shot-blocking skill as a center, and became the first African-American to coach in the NBA when he served as player-coach of the Celtics from 1966-69. A five-time winner of the league's Most Valuable Player Award and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Russell in 1980 was voted Greatest Player in the History of the NBA by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America. Russell will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Boston College.

McDermott won the National Book Award for her 1998 novel Charming Billy , a tale of lost love set in the Irish-American community of Long Island. She is the author of several other novels, including That Night , At Weddings and Wakes and A Bigamist's Daughter , and has written essays and reviews for the New York Times , the Washington Post and Book World . McDermott is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego and the University of New Hampshire, and is a visiting writer at Johns Hopkins University. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Commencement.

Jones is president and chief executive officer of the Boston Foundation, one of the nation's oldest and largest community foundations, which distributes more than $30 million annually in grants to non-profit organizations. She is deeply involved in civic affairs, serving on the state attorney general's Advisory Committee on Public Charities and the boards of the Council on Foundations, Fleet Bank, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Civic League, Public Radio International, the Boston Athenaeum and Northfield Mount Hermon School, among other organizations. The daughter of the first African-American president of Howard University, she studied at Wellesley College and Columbia University. At Commencement, Jones will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Following a procession at 9:30 a.m., Commencement Exercises will begin at 10 a.m. In the event of rain, Commencement will be held in Conte Forum.

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