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Author Greg Mortenson and Senior Qiamuddin Amiry Will Share the Stage

Two grassroots crusaders for education will speak at Colby College’s 188th Commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 24 at 10 a.m. on the Miller Library lawn. Greg Mortenson, coauthor of the bestseller Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace. . . One School at a Time, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree. Qiamuddin Amiry ’09 of Kabul, Afghanistan, was elected by his class to deliver the student address. The public is invited.

Cofounder and executive director of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and founder of Pennies for Peace, Mortenson has dedicated his life to promoting community-based education and literacy programs, especially for girls, in remote mountainous regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson has established more than 80 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan that provide education to more than 25,000 children, including 14,000 girls, for whom few education opportunities existed before.

A recipient of a prestigious Davis United World College scholarship, Amiry sought to provide similar opportunities for others. As a sophomore he started a scholarship program to bring outstanding students from Afghanistan to Maine to attend Gould Academy. Currently two students are studying under the scholarship and two others have been selected for next year. Amiry will attend The Fletcher School at Tufts University next year to study law and diplomacy, and he plans to continue expanding the nonprofit organization he started with classmate John Campbell ’09, the Afghan Scholars Initiative Foundation.

Yilin Xu, a mathematics and economics double major from Beijing, China, will lead the procession of seniors as the class marshal and valedictorian.

Beyond Mortenson, honorary degrees will be awarded to:

Joseph F. Boulos ’68, president of The Boulos Companies in Portland, Maine, northern New England’s largest commercial real estate firm, and chair of the Colby College Board of Trustees;

Kate Cheney Chappell and Thomas M. Chappell, founders of Tom’s of Maine, a natural personal care company proving that business can be environmentally sensitive, socially responsible and profitable;

Margaret Geller, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., and a pioneer in mapping the nearby universe;

Jack Goldsmith, an attorney specializing in international law, foreign affairs law, conflicts of law, and national security law, whose recent books include The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration.

For the second consecutive year, Colby’s commencement will include sustainability efforts through purchasing local foods, composting and reducing waste, among other things. Members of the Green Team will be on hand to educate guests about sustainability and about what Colby does year-round to reduce its environmental impact.

Members of the public wishing to attend should bring their own chairs. In the case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the Wadsworth Gymnasium, Alfond Athletic Center, in which case tickets will be required. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, the College cannot provide tickets to the public. The ceremony will be shown in real-time on a large screen in the field house, which will be open to the public. For those unable to attend, a live Webcast will be available at

For additional information on commencement and the honorees, visit