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Liberia's President to Speak at Commencement

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of Liberia, will deliver the main address at Dartmouth’s 2008 Commencement exercises on Sunday, June 8, on the Green. She is also one of eight individuals who will receive honorary degrees at the event.

Johnson-Sirleaf, known as Africa’s “Iron Lady,” is a leading promoter of peace, justice, and democratic rule. In November 2005, she was elected president of Liberia and became the first woman to lead an African nation. The Harvard-educated former World Bank economist won the election with an impressive 59.4 percent of the vote.

“President Johnson-Sirleaf’s life-long commitment to the advancement of human rights and the spread of democracy has had a profound impact on her nation of Liberia, and it is an honor to have her as this year’s Commencement speaker. Her example is a powerful demonstration of the contributions that an individual can make, and I know she will serve as an inspiration to Dartmouth students,” says President James Wright.

Also speaking will be the valedictorian of the undergraduate senior class, who is announced the week of commencement after final grades are calculated.

The academic procession to the Green begins at 9:30 a.m., and Commencement ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Thomas Cech
Thomas Cech
Ada Deer
Ada Deer
Martin Feldstein
Martin Feldstein
Richard Hill
Richard Hill ´41, Tuck ´42
Evelyn Fox Keller
Evelyn Fox Keller
Ralph Manuel
Manuel ´58
Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson
  • Thomas R. Cech (Doctor of Science), Nobel Laureate in chemistry and president, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Ada Deer (Doctor of Laws), director of the American Indian Studies Program (retired), University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Martin Feldstein (Doctor of Laws), George F. Baker Professor of Economics, Harvard University
  • Richard Hill ’41, Tuck ’42 (Doctor of Laws), former chair and CEO of First National Bank of Boston, chairman emeritus, Dartmouth Board of Trustees
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (Doctor of Science), professor emeritus of the history and philosophy of science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ralph Manuel ’58 (Doctor of Humane Letters), former dean of the College at Dartmouth and retired head of schools of the Culver Academies
  • Cicely Tyson (Doctor of Arts), actress

The Dartmouth Prize for Exceptional Teaching

Also on Commencement Sunday 2008, Dartmouth will present the second annual “Dartmouth Prizes for Exceptional Teaching: A Celebration of Outstanding Elementary and Secondary Education.” The College will present the awards to four K-12 teachers from around the country who were nominated by graduating Dartmouth seniors for their skills and the profound positive impact they have had on a great many lives, including those of the Dartmouth students who nominated them. The names of the winners will be released prior to Commencement.

Saturday, June 7

A variety of ceremonies take place the day before Commencement, including Class Day and Investiture ceremonies for Dartmouth’s three professional schools, and Baccalaureate, a multifaith service open to all graduates and their guests. Those events and their speakers are:

  • Dartmouth Medical School: 11 a.m., Leede Arena. Speaker: Stephen J. Atwood ’68, DMS ’70, regional advisor for health and nutrition for the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office
  • Thayer School of Engineering: 10 a.m., Spaulding Auditorium, Hopkins Center. Speaker: Richard W. Couch ’64, Thayer ’65, CEO and chairman of the board, Hypertherm Inc.
  • Tuck School of Business: 3 p.m., Tuck Circle. (In case of rain, Thompson Arena, same time.) Speaker: John Donahoe ’82, president and CEO-elect of eBay Inc. and Dartmouth Trustee
  • Baccalaureate: 3 p.m., Rollins Chapel. (Remote viewing in 105 Dartmouth Hall.) Speaker: Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core


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Last Updated: 12/17/08