A student from rural Zimbabwe will serve as class speaker at Colby College’s 185th commencement, and, by coincidence, the benefactors of his scholarship fund will be present to receive honorary degrees. Francis Tapiwa Chapuredima will share the stage with Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen on Sunday, May 28, at 10 a.m. The roughly 465 seniors in the Class of 2006 elected Chapuredima, an Oak scholar at Colby, to give the address.
Known campus-wide for his sense of humor, Chapuredima is an economics major with a concentration in financial markets and minor in mathematics. He is grateful that his scholarship donors will be in the audience. “I’m hoping they will be so proud and they will see the immediate reward of their generosity,” he said. An active volunteer, Chapuredima hopes one day to return to Zimbabwe to “be part of the change that my country needs.”
Novelist and essayist Quindlen, Colby’s 2006 commencement speaker, has written columns for leading American newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times and Newsweek magazine, for which she continues to write the “Last Word.” She has written four best-selling novels, and a collection of her New York Times columns titled Thinking Out Loud was on the New York Times Best Seller List for more than three months in 1993. With the publication of her nonfiction book A Short Guide to a Happy Life, in 2000, she became the first writer to have books appear on the fiction, nonfiction, and self-help New York Times Best Seller lists. She will receive an honorary degree.
Honorary degrees will also be awarded to Ray Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc., an interior furnishings company recognized as a leader in the green business movement; David Botstein, a renowned geneticist who, along with three colleagues, laid the groundwork for the Human Genome Project; Robert P. Moses, a Freedom Rider in the 1960s and the main organizer of Freedom Summer who founded The Algebra Project, an innovative program that teaches mathematics literacy to children; Jette and Alan Parker, founders of the Oak Philanthropies Ltd. and the Oak Foundation, which has made major grants to Colby; Paul J. Schupf, Colby trustee and a dedicated art collector who has made significant contributions to the Colby College Museum of Art.
The valedictorian and class marshal, Matthew M. Meredith of Tabernacle, N.J., is a biology major with a concentration in cell and molecular biology/biochemistry and a Japanese minor. The marshal is the senior with the highest grade point average at the start of the final semester.
The public is invited to attend the commencement ceremony, which will be held on the lawn of Miller Library. In the event of bad weather the ceremony may be moved into the field house, in which case tickets are required.
The ceremonies will be available for viewing through a live Webcast.