Honorary Degree Citation
Deval Patrick. Both leader and servant of the people. From humble beginnings on the South Side of Chicago, you became the first in your family to attend college. After graduating with honors from Harvard College you entered Harvard Law School, where you served as president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. You began your career clerking for a federal judge, and later you became a partner in one of Boston’s largest law firms, a distinction earned before you were 35. In 1994 you were confirmed by the U.S. Senate as head of the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Justice Department. When you entered the Democratic primary for governor of Massachusetts in 2006, you were considered a long-shot candidate. But your talent for grassroots campaigning, your message, and your determination to run a positive, policy-driven campaign won the day. In making its endorsement in that election, the Boston Globe said you embodied an “intangible quality of leadership.” The voters agreed, sending you to the Massachusetts State House for the first of your two terms. During your eight years as governor you have helped create a more open, transparent, and accessible government. You have promoted investments in education, high-tech innovation, and infrastructure, and employment in Massachusetts is at an all-time high. Under your leadership, Massachusetts is first in the nation in student achievement, health-care coverage, economic competitiveness, entrepreneurial activity, energy efficiency, and veterans’ services. Your tenure as governor has been marked by compassion and fairness. You have vigorously supported marriage equality and given a voice to those too often pushed aside in policy struggles. You guided the commonwealth through the turbulent waters of an economic crisis, and your reassuring and resolute tone in the days following the tragedy and horror of the Boston Marathon bombing helped ease a shaken state and nation.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Deval Patrick, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are the visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.
Conferred May 25, 2014