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Upcoming Commencement Dates

  • June 9, 2019
  • June 14, 2020
  • June 13, 2021
  • June 12, 2022

Commencement 2010 Speeches & Citations

Honorary Degree Citation to Stephen Lewis (Doctor Of Humane Letters) 

June 13, 2010

Stephen Lewis, you are an eloquent activist who has mobilized the world to respond to humanitarian disasters from the genocide of war to the pandemic of disease. As a politician, commentator and diplomat, you have distinguished yourself not only by your rapier intellect but also your great compassion.

From your earliest years, your father exposed you to the power of public service. But it wasn’t until you travelled to Africa as a young man that you found your own calling. In two years of teaching and learning, you developed a deep affection for Africa and its people. You returned to your native Canada, but you did not leave Africa behind.

A political career in Ontario earned you such respect across party lines that an ideological foe appointed you Canada’s ambassador to the UN, where you charted an activist role focused on the developing world.

You investigated the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and then confronted the calamity of HIV/AIDS as a UN Secretary-General’s special envoy in Africa.

You deployed a politician’s deft touch to engage tribal elders in village meetings or cajole entrenched bureaucrats to act in the marbled halls of government. Above all, you challenged the world to confront the African AIDS epidemic and stop what you unforgettably described as “mass murder by complacency.”

Your moral clarity jolted governments to stop denying the causes of AIDS, and your tireless work sped the flow of life-saving medicines to those in need. You nurtured grassroots organizations and through the Stephen Lewis Foundation have funded more than 300 such groups.

Despite bearing witness to the most profound of human depravations, you have never lost hope in a better future – and your example gives us all more hope for a better world.

You have been awarded the highest civilian honor in nations from Canada to Lesotho. Now, Dartmouth is pleased to join in honoring you and your work by bestowing the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.

Last Updated: 3/13/16