Deval Patrick to Speak at Commencement May 25

Deval PatrickGovernor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, a first-generation college student and champion of education reform, will deliver the commencement speech and receive an honorary degree at Colby’s 193rd Commencement on Sunday, May 25. Colby President William D. Adams, who will retire at the end of June, also will receive an honorary degree as is customary for retiring presidents.

Approximately 475 members of the Class of 2014 will graduate. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the lawn of Miller Library, weather permitting, and is open to the public.

Patrick was elected Massachusetts governor in 2006 and won a second term in 2010. His accomplishments include supporting school reform initiatives that earned his state the top spot in the national Race to the Top competition.

Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Patrick was awarded a scholarship to Milton Academy in Massachusetts through A Better Chance, a Boston-based organization. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. After clerking for a federal judge, he led a successful career in the private sector as an attorney and business executive, rising to senior executive positions at Texaco and Coca-Cola. In 1994 President Bill Clinton appointed Patrick assistant attorney general for civil rights, the nation’s top civil rights post.

Other recipients of honorary degrees at commencement will include Richard Blanco, the poet who read at President Obama’s second inauguration; Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; William Chace, former president of Wesleyan and Emory universities; and Andrea Nix Fine ’91, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker who got her start in film as a Colby student.

“We are delighted and privileged to have such a diverse and accomplished group of honorary degree recipients to help celebrate the Class of 2014’s graduation and the final commencement of Bro Adams’s presidency,” said Jeff Packman ’88, chair of the honorary degree committee of Colby’s Board of Trustees. “Each individual being honored has made significant and lasting contributions to society, and in many cases Colby is a direct beneficiary of their work and inspiration. The range and prominence of their accomplishments reflect the College’s commitment both to excellence and to the liberal arts philosophy.”

As he has done every year since arriving at Colby in 2000, Adams will address the graduating class at the baccalaureate ceremony the day before commencement, Saturday, May 24.

In case of rain the ceremony will be moved to the Alfond Athletic Center, where tickets would be required for admission to the gymnasium. For those unable to attend, a live webcast will be available on Colby’s website. Alumni, families, and students are encouraged to participate in conversations leading up to and through the weekend using #Colby2014 on social media.