Bond, McConnell, Inouye to Headline Commencement Weekend
Civil Rights Leader, Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Senator to Receive Honorary Degrees with Former GW Board Chair Manatt and GW President Emeritus Trachtenberg
IForty years after the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the young men he inspired to devote his life to the cause of civil rights, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, will deliver the 2008 graduation address at GW’s Commencement on the National Mall on May 18. Bond will speak to an estimated 25,000 graduates and guests 45 years after King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech on the National Mall. Bond will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the ceremony.
“This great university honors me,” Bond says, “but it also honors the thousands of nameless women and men who made the modern-day civil rights movement possible. Forty years after King’s death, these graduates represent a generation that seems willing to take our country’s racial dialogue to a new level, and I am delighted to speak to them at their graduation.”
In 1965, Bond was elected to the Georgia state legislature but was denied his seat. He fought his case all the way to the United States Supreme Court. As part of that effort, King spoke out on Bond’s behalf and organized a march in support of his right to be seated. The Supreme Court ultimately voted unanimously in Bond’s favor, and he went on to serve more than two decades in the Georgia General Assembly.
In 1998, Bond was elected chairman of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. The NAACP will mark its centennial in 2009. Bond also served as the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and is a member of the boards of People for the American Way and the Council for a Livable World. He also serves on the advisory board of the Harvard Business School Initiative on Social Enterprise.
On May 17 during GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Celebration at noon, Mike McConnell, M.P.A. ’86, director of national intelligence, will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree for his career in public service and commitment to enhancing the security of our nation.
McConnell was sworn in as the nation’s second director of national intelligence in February 2007. Prior to his nomination, he was a senior vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton, where he focused on national security and intelligence issues. From 1992 to 1996, McConnell was director of the National Security Agency. In 1996, he retired as vice admiral in the U.S. Navy after 29 years of service. McConnell has earned many of the nation’s highest military awards for meritorious service, and, in 1997, President Bill Clinton presented him with the National Security Medal for his service in the intelligence community.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), J.D. ’52, will deliver the keynote address and accept an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the GW Law School Diploma Ceremony, to be held May 18. The third most senior U.S. senator, Inouye was the first Japanese American elected to Congress. He is a highly decorated veteran and served with the famous “Go for Broke” U.S. Army regiment during World War II. As an elected official, Inouye has been instrumental in shaping U.S. defense policy and advocating for the Hawaiian people. He currently is chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, part of the Committee on Appropriations, as well as of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In 1962, GW honored Inouye with its Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and, from 1982 to 1992, Inouye was a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Charles T. Manatt, J.D. ’62, former chairman of GW’s Board of Trustees and founder, partner, and chairman of the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, GW president emeritus and University Professor of Public Service, will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.
Manatt joined GW’s Board of Trustees in 1980. He held various leadership roles and was chairman from 2001 to 2007. He has overseen the Committees on Governance, Compensation, and Nominations, and University Trusteeship. Committed to public service, he chaired the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985 and co-chaired the 1992 Clinton/Gore presidential campaign. Manatt served as the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic from 1999 to 2001 and is a founder of the National Endowment for Democracy. He sits on the boards of the Wesley Foundation, the Council of American Ambassadors, Meridian International Center, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, and FedEx Corp.
Trachtenberg served as the 15th president of GW for nearly two decades, from 1988 to 2007. He came to GW from the University of Hartford, where he had been president for 11 years. During his GW presidency, applications for undergraduate admission rose from 6,000 to nearly 20,000 per year, five new schools were added to the University, and GW’s endowment grew from $200 million to $1 billion.
Trachtenberg currently teaches in the GW Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, which was named in his honor in 2007. He also serves as chairman of Korn/Ferry International’s higher education practice, writes a blog for The Chronicle of Higher Education, and is writing two books on higher education. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1959, a Juris Doctor from Yale University in 1962, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University in 1966.