Conferred October 15, 2003
Steve Mills and Maurice Possley, as crusaders for justice and as advocates for voiceless victims of an imperfect judicial system, you have demonstrated the power of the press to right wrongs and the obligation of journalists to use that power to influence the conscience of a fallible society. With your extraordinary commitment to exhuming the truth, passion for rooting out injustice, and fastidious attention to the details of your craft, you have demonstrated how dogged, conscientious reporting can make a difference–even the difference between life and death. The grateful souls spared wrongful execution because of your work are your most obvious beneficiaries, but they are hardly the only beneficiaries. Citizens of your state and your nation, whether they support the death penalty or abhor it, owe a debt of gratitude for every innocent life saved, and our society can better assess the morality of capital punishment in the light your revelations have shed. Your courage to pursue an inflammatory issue, to buck the weight of public opinion, to work for justice and equal treatment for the dispossessed, makes you spiritual heirs of Elijah Parish Lovejoy. Colby is proud to add your names to the list of distinguished journalists who have, in word and deed, upheld the ideals for which we revere Lovejoy.By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Steve Mills and Maurice Possley, 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.