Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will deliver the Class of 2015’s Commencement address on May 17.
Albright, who served as the first female U.S. Secretary of State under former U.S. President Bill Clinton from 1997 – 2001, will also be awarded with an honorary doctorate of laws degree at the university-wide ceremony, which will take place on the Green at 9:00 a.m.
Albright has given many commencement speeches at other universities, including Harvard University, Smith College and her alma mater, Wellesley College. She has also previously spoken at Tufts, delivering the 2007 Issam M. Fares Lecture.
“Madeleine Albright’s remarkable accomplishments and personal story truly speak to Tufts’ values of global leadership, public service and active engagement as a citizen of the world,” University President Anthony Monaco said in a statement released by Tufts’ Public Relations department. “She delivered a memorable Fares Lecture at Tufts seven years ago, and we are absolutely delighted that she will be returning to the university for this year’s Commencement.”
The process of selecting honorary degree recipients for Commencement began in spring 2014, when the Honorary Degree Committee, a standing committee of the Board of Trustees, sent out emails to the Tufts community asking for nominations. The committee sent out another request for nominations again last fall.
Once nominations have been received, the committee reviews and recommends nominations to the board. The final selections are announced once the recipients have confirmed their attendance at Commencement. Recipients are chosen based on a series of qualities, including their accomplishments in their field, as well as their reflection of the university’s values, according to the university’s Commencement page.
“We look for speakers who embody those qualities and will offer thoughts that will engage and inspire our graduates, their families and the Tufts community,” Director of Public Relations Kim Thurler said in an electronic message to the Daily.
In addition to Albright, five other individuals will receive honorary degrees from the university: Executive Director of the Children’s Trust Fund Suzin Bartley, activist and entrepreneur Joichi Ito, business leader and Tufts alum Joseph Neubauer, jurist and human rights activist Navanethem Pillay and teacher and choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
Bartley and Neubauer will receive honorary doctor of public service degrees. Ito will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, Pillay will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and Zollar will be granted an honorary doctor of fine arts degree.