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The leader of the United States Agency for International Development, Administrator Rajiv Shah, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree at Colby’s 190th commencement ceremonies on May 22.

A native of Detroit, Administrator Shah graduated from the University of Michigan and earned his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in health economics from the Wharton School. Shah is the 16th administrator of USAID, the lead American development agency. USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance to deliver meaningful development results for the developing world and to strengthen national and economic security for the American people.

Since being sworn in on Dec. 31, 2009, Shah has led the U.S. government’s response to the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince last January, launched a comprehensive suite of reforms to USAID’s business model, co-chaired the State Department’s first-ever review of American diplomacy and development operations, and spearheaded President Obama’s landmark Feed the Future food security initiative.

Shah previously served as undersecretary for research, education and economics and as chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and before that he was director of agricultural development in the Global Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In all of those roles, his focus was on issues such as global food security, bioenergy and sustainability, nutrition, and food safety.

Shah also was health-care policy advisor on the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, a member of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s transition committee on health, and cofounder of Health Systems Analytics and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans. In 2007 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Shah will deliver the commencement address at exercises beginning at 10 a.m. May 22 on Colby’s campus in Waterville, Maine. Also receiving honorary degrees at commencement will be Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, sociologist and pioneering African-American studies professor Adelaide Cromwell, Cianbro CEO Peter G. Vigue, and philanthropist Bernard Osher

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