HHS Secretary Thompson to Speak at Graduation

HHS Secretary Thompson to Speak at Graduation

Honorary degree recipients include Roche, Campanella

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, who as Wisconsin governor was a pioneer of welfare reform and introduced the nation's first parental school-voucher program, will address the Class of 2001 at Boston College's 125th Commencement Exercises on Monday, May 21, at Alumni Stadium.

Thompson will receive a Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremonies, which begin at 10 a.m. and will be held in Conte Forum in the event of rain.

Also receiving honorary degrees will be Boston College Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella; Thomas S. Durant, '51, MD, assistant general director of Massachusetts General Hospital; Sister Clare Pratt, RSCJ, NC, '67, superior-general of the Religious of the Sacred Heart; Patrick E. Roche, '51, retired president of Roche Brothers Supermarkets, and Cherryl T. Thomas, chairwoman of the US Railroad Retirement Board.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. As Health and Human Services secretary, Tommy Thompson is the nation's leading advocate for the health and welfare of all Americans, heading a department with more than 60,000 employees and a budget of $429 billion.

Prior to joining President Bush's Cabinet this year, Thompson was elected to an unprecedented four terms as governor of Wisconsin. In 14 years as governor, he focused on revitalizing Wisconsin's economy, while gaining national attention for his leadership on welfare reform, expanded access to health care for low-income people, and education.

In 1996, Gov. Thompson enacted the state's landmark welfare-to-work legislation, which served as a national model for welfare reform. The program required participants to work, while at the same time providing the services and support to make the transition to work feasible and permanent.

Gov. Thompson created the nation's first parental school choice program in 1990, allowing low-income Milwaukee families to send children to the private or public school of their choice.

He received a bachelor's degree in 1963 and a law degree in 1966 from the University of Wisconsin.

Boston College's outgoing executive vice president, Frank B. Campanella, has been Boston College's foremost administrator during the better part of three decades, playing a signal role in the financial growth and physical expansion that have contributed to BC's current standing as a top-ranked national university.

He played a key role in the architectural and fiscal planning that produced some of Boston College's most important recent buildings: Merkert Chemistry Center, the renovated Higgins Hall housing BC's Biology and Physics departments, the BC Law Library, O'Neill Library, Conte Forum, Robsham Theater and the student residence halls lining Commonwealth Avenue. In total, Campanella has overseen $500 million worth of construction and major renovation, including $230 million for academic facilities.

Campanella pushed for the advances in computer technology that have made the Boston College campus one of the best wired in the country. He also was instrumental in developing the long-range financial planning models that helped Boston College become a vibrant, economically sound institution with a net asset value of $1.34 billion, an endowment of $1.1 billion and operating surpluses in each of its past 26 years.

Campanella's involvement with Jesuit education began at Boston College High School, from which he graduated in 1954. He earned an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1958, an MBA from Babson College in 1966 and a doctoral degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School in 1970. He has worked in engineering and finance in the construction industry, and served three years active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Campanella will receive an honorary Doctorate of Laws.

Thomas S. Durant, MD, '51, assistant general director of Massachusetts General Hospital, has spent his lifetime providing care and comfort to the sick and injured in his native Boston and around the world.

In addition to his duties at MGH, Durant served as chief public health advisor in Saigon, Vietnam, from 1966 to 1968, and has been an annual medical volunteer in such war-torn and disease-stricken nations as Cambodia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Iraq, Somalia and Bosnia.

Durant, a lifelong resident of Dorchester, received his medical degree from Georgetown University. He has volunteered his services to needy nations each year since 1979.

Durant will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Sister Clare Pratt, RSCJ, NC '67, last year became the first American elected superior general of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, an international congregation founded 200 years ago by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. She resides at the society's Mother House in Rome.

Sister Pratt, born and raised in Washington, DC, the daughter of a US district court judge, entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1959 and made her final profession in Rome in 1967.

She has twice been in leadership of the congregation in the United States. In 1994 she was named Secretary General of the Society, the position held 190 years ago by St. Philippine Duchesne, canonized in 1988, the first sister of the order to serve in the United States.

The Religious of the Sacred Heart, founders of the former Newton College of the Sacred Heart and once known principally as a teaching order, are now engaged in 45 countries in various ministries.

Sister Pratt will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Pat Roche '51, a native of Boston and a graduate of Boston Latin School, got his first taste of the food business when he took a job after college with First National Stores as a meat-cutter, then joined the Swift Meat Packing Co. as a sales representative. In 1952 he joined his brother, Bud, in founding Roche Bros. What began as a small, family-run business has grown into a multi-million-dollar industry, with a reputation for quality and customer service and adherence to the "Golden Rule" of decency and respect.

Pat Roche has contributed generously to his community. The Parkway Boys and Girls Club in West Roxbury has been renamed the Roche Family Community Center by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in recognition of the longstanding support Roche and his wife, Barbara, have given the club. The couple has co-chaired the Annual Appeal of the Archdiocese of Boston. He is a founder of the American Ireland Fund and has been a benefactor of senior citizens' groups.

Five years ago, Pat and Bud Roche donated $1 million to their alma mater, the Sacred Heart grammar school in Roslindale, in one of the largest single gifts ever to a Boston parochial school.

Pat Roche is a past chairman of the BC Alumni Admissions Council for South Coastal Massachusetts and a member of the President's Circle of Boston College. A 1995 recipient of the John E. Hurley Bald Eagle Outstanding Alumnus Award, last year he was awarded the Laboure Medal, given to an individual who champions the cause of the poor, the infirm and the hungry in the spirit of St. Catherine Laboure and St. Vincent de Paul.

Roche will receive an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration.

Cherryl T. Thomas was appointed chairwoman of the US Railroad Retirement Board by President Clinton in April 1998.

Prior to her appointment, Thomas had served since 1994 as commissioner of the Department of Buildings for the City of Chicago. In her Chicago municipal career, she also served as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard J. Daley from 1992-94, director of Personnel Policy and Utilization for the Water Department from 1989-92, and director of Management Services for the Department of Aviation from 1983-89.

A native and resident of Chicago, Thomas received a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Marquette University, and a master's degree in physiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Thomas will receive an honorary Doctorate of Public Administration.

-Reid Oslin contributed to this story


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