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Conferred November 9, 2000, by Colby President William D. Adams.
BILL KOVACH, as a reporter, editor, educator, and fourth-estate evangelist, you have made freedom of the press--and concomitant standards of journalistic integrity--your life's work. For this, our nation's newspapers, and its people, are richer.
As a reporter, your zealous pursuit of truth exposed shameful injustices, and your tenacious defense of First Amendment guarantees brought important changes in state and federal laws.
As an editor, your loyalty to your reporters and your uncompromising dedication to editorial independence put honesty above profit and set high standards for all editors.
As an educator, you nurtured a new generation of journalists, imbuing them with your passion for accuracy and integrity and with enthusiasm for the transformative power of untrammeled reporting.
As an evangelist, your efforts to sow seeds of free and independent journalism in America and beyond our shores have helped to enlighten millions worldwide.
You are recognized widely as a guardian of press freedom and as the conscience of journalism. At the Nieman Foundation, with the Committee of Concerned Journalists, and during the twelve years that you served Colby's Lovejoy Selection Committee, you have helped shield the flame of Elijah Parish Lovejoy's legacy from the ill winds of intimidation, censorship, commercialization, and trivialization. Colby is proud to add your name to the list of distinguished journalists who, in word and deed, have upheld the ideals for which we revere Lovejoy.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, BILL KOVACH, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hood, with which you have been invested, and this diploma, which I place in your hand, are visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.