Conferred November 12, 1998, by Colby President William R. Cotter.

Ellen Goodman, for more than two decades your essays have enlightened a nationwide audience of readers and have enriched and expanded the national dialogue. You have been called “one of the most thoughtful observers of political life that America has ever produced.” But that tribute falls short of doing justice to your contributions to American journalism. It neglects your success at expanding editorial commentary beyond political life to encompass social issues — families, relationships, women’s issues and social change.
Your distinctive voice, featured in more than 425 newspapers, conveys a depth of understanding across an astonishing range of topics, from family Thanksgiving dinner to the role of venture capitalists in foreign policy. Millions of readers rely on you to explain complex issues in a clarity that might otherwise be muted by the cacophony that increasingly surrounds our national controversies and social trends.
Your wisdom, integrity and foresight combine to make yours a unique presence on editorial and opinion pages from coast to coast. Like Elijah Parish Lovejoy you are persistent and courageous and are driven by compassion and a deep desire for social justice. Colby is proud to add the Lovejoy Award to your list of honors, for you have throughout your career upheld the ideals for which we revere Elijah Parish Lovejoy.

By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Ellen Goodman, 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.