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As it celebrates the Class of 2017 for successful completion of Colby’s rigorous course of study, the College will honor distinguished leaders at its 196th Commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 21, 2017. The 47th Vice President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr., will deliver the commencement address, and political analyst Amy Walter, a 1991 graduate of Colby and national editor of the Cook Political Report, will deliver the baccalaureate address Saturday, May 20.
The College will also honor Warren Washington, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, with a doctor of science degree and Yoshihiro Takishita, founding president of the Association for the Preservation of Traditional Japanese Farmhouses, with a doctor of fine arts degree. Walter will receive a doctor of letters degree and Biden will receive a doctor of laws degree.
“It is a privilege to recognize the many contributions of these extraordinary individuals,” said Colby President David A. Greene. “Their work has shaped global policies and events, provided insight to the most important political and scientific issues of our time, and opened our eyes to the lasting impact of careful historic and cultural preservation.”
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden served eight years in that role following 36 years as a U.S. Senator from Delaware. As Senator he served on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As vice president, Biden visited more than 50 countries and worked on important issues, including middle-class living standards, gun violence, violence against women, and the battle against cancer. Since leaving office Biden, along with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, has turned his focus to the Biden Foundation, which aims to advance much of his previous work. He will also lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania and the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.
Trained as an architect, author, lecturer, and preservationist Yoshihiro Takishita has preserved more than 35 centuries-old rural Japanese dwellings, reconstructing them in new locations (four outside Japan) as modern homes. His work has been celebrated in Japan and abroad and has been featured in many publications, including Architectural Digest, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He has lectured at Colby College and Harvard University and is the author of Japanese Country Style: Putting New Life into Old Houses.
As national editor of the Cook Political Report, Amy Walter ’91 provides analysis of the issues, trends, and events that shape the political environment. Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision makers. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the former political director of ABC News. She is also a regular panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’ Face the Nation, and Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier.
As a research scientist for 50 years, Warren Washington had presidential appointments in the Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations, and was awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest science award, by President Barack Obama. In his current role, he leads a group that uses state-of-the-art computer climate models to study present and future climate change. His publication credits exceed 150, and he coauthored a book considered a standard reference on climate modeling.
Members of the Class of 2017, who number approximately 480, came to Colby from 36 states and 42 countries. The majority of graduates have studied abroad and completed internships and significant scholarly research. They will go on to a broad range of careers and to graduate or professional schools to study law, education, finance, medicine, nonprofit leadership, and much more.
The commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the lawn of Miller Library, weather permitting. It is open to the public, and attendees who are not family members of graduates are asked to bring their own chairs. In the case of rain, tickets will be required for admission to the gymnasium in the Harold Alfond Athletic Center and there will be an overflow simulcast available in the field house. Any notice of location change will be posted at colby.edu, as will the link to a live webcast for those unable to attend.
Members of the media who plan to attend, need information, or wish to arrange an audio feed during the ceremony should contact Kate Carlisle in the Office of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-859-4369. Advance notice and Colby-issued press credentials are required of all members of the media.