Date: May 24, 1999
Contact: Alicia MacLeay
Phone: (207) 872-3220
In a commencement address on Sunday at Colby College, Senator George J. Mitchell told 516 graduating seniors, "If you believe, as I do, that every American is entitled to equal opportunity and equal justice, you must speak out against all forms of discrimination and injustice. If you remember one thing I say here today, remember this: in the presence of evil, silence makes you an accomplice."
"I'm not the most famous member of my family," Mitchell also said before recognizing his brother John "Swisher" Mitchell who has been the assistant basketball coach at Colby for 30 years.
Colby's 178th commencement took place on the lawn of the Waterville, Maine, college's central quadrangle with light breezes, rippling mortarboard tassels and graduation gowns. Students, applauded by classmates and families, individually received diplomas and congratulations from Colby President William R. Cotter.
Ezra Dyer of Jefferson, Maine, selected class speaker by his peers, entertained the crowd with his witty suggestions for future Colby commencements, including a retractable dome built by recent unemployed graduates. "I'm not sure about the rest of the class," said Dyer, "but I'm pretty sure my schedule is going to be wide open in a few hours."
Cotter awarded Colby's Randall J. Condon Medal, the only prize presented at commencement, to Douglas W. Comeau of Lynn, Mass., and Braden D. Sicchitano of Wellesley, Mass. Their classmates and the faculty voted to honor them with the awards for constructive citizenship.
Cotter presented honorary doctoral degrees to Judy Woodruff, CNN's prime anchor and senior correspondent; Al Hunt, the executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal and a Capital Gang panelist on CNN; outgoing chair of Colby's Board of Trustees Larry Pugh '56 and his wife, Jean (Van Curan) Pugh '55; Maine's independent governor Angus King; and genetic cancer-research pioneer Patricia (Davis) Murphy '68.