Education Secretary to Speak at Graduation

Commencement 2000

Education Secretary to Speak at Graduation

Local teacher, Havana cardinal among four to be honored by BC

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

United States Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, an advocate for higher national education standards and expanded federal grant and loan programs, will deliver the keynote address at Boston College's 124th Commencement Exercises on May 22 in Alumni Stadium.

The University also will award honorary degrees at Commencement to Fayette Long, a teacher at Cathedral High School in Boston; Cardinal Jaime Ortega, archbishop of Havana, Cuba; Kip Tiernan, founder of the Rosie's Place shelter in Boston; and NBC President and CEO Robert C. Wright.

Riley was nominated by President Bill Clinton to head the US Education Department in December 1992 after winning national recognition for his efforts to improve education in South Carolina during his two terms as governor. In the first Clinton administration, Riley launched initiatives to raise academic standards, improve instruction for the poor and disadvantaged and improve teaching. He also helped create the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, which today includes more than 3,000 groups.

During his second term as secretary, Riley has helped win an historic ruling by the Federal Communications Commission to provide schools and libraries with discounts for Internet access and telecommunications services. He also was instrumental in securing improvements to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Riley's current goals include voluntary national testing to ensure students master the basics of reading and math. He also has suggested that states and school districts expand the school year and that teachers - who would have their salaries raised accordingly -use the extra time for professional development, creating new lessons or working with struggling students.

After serving as governor of South Carolina from 1979-87, Riley was a partner in the law firm of Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough of Greenville and Columbia, SC. A 1954 graduate of Furman University, he earned his juris doctorate from the University of South Carolina in 1959.

United States Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.

Fayette Long teaches computer technology and business law at Cathedral High School in Boston, where she has worked for 20 years. A native of Fall River, Long has drawn praise from Cathedral High Principal Mary Kay Brady as "a strong Christian" who is very active in her Baptist Church and "a woman of great faith." She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

In 1994, Archbishop Jaime Ortega was elevated by Pope John Paul II as Cuba's first cardinal in three decades. The son of a sugar mill worker, he has become one of the foremost public figures in the country, presiding over a grassroots reawakening that has drawn tens of thousands of Cubans into churches and revived interest in the priesthood. Under Cardinal Ortega, the Catholic Church has emerged as a growing, populist institution that analysts say rivals the government for power and persuasion in Cuba.

The University will present Cardinal Ortega with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

After pursuing a career in advertising, and earning a coveted McGraw-Hill award in the process, Kip Tiernan became involved in St. Philip's/Warwick House and its efforts to serve the needs of poor and homeless people. In 1974, she founded Rosie's Place, the first drop-in emergency shelter for women in the United States. Tiernan also was founder of the Boston Food Bank and co-founder of the Boston Women's Fund, Health Care for the Homeless and Community Works.

Tiernan will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Robert Wright, who was appointed president and CEO of the National Broadcasting Co. in 1986, is the longest-serving president of a television broadcasting company in history. Under his leadership, NBC expanded its presence in the cable, international and new media markets, which includes a partnership with Microsoft and ownership of NBC Europe and NBC Asia. Wright was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 1996 and a year later received the International Radio and Television Society Foundation's prestigious Gold Medal Award for industry leadership.

Boston College will present Wright with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Following the traditional 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.

Commencement Exercises will be broadcast live on the Internet via Real Networks again this year. The Commencement 2000 World Wide Web site offers links to information about the event and Internet broadcast.


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