Information About Commencement Weekend Speakers and Honorands
April 5, 2013
Dear Members of the Trinity Community:
Trinity’s 187th Commencement will take place on May 19, and as we
prepare to celebrate the success of the Class of 2013, I am pleased to
inform you of this year’s honorary degree recipients. Our Commencement
speaker will be Bridget M. McCormack, Class of 1988, who gained national
attention during last fall’s campaign season when she was elected to
the Michigan Supreme Court. An honors major in both political science
and philosophy, her years at Trinity foreshadowed a notable career in
public service. While she was an undergraduate here, McCormack was cited
by the Hartford Courant as one of its Outstanding Youth Leaders for her role in expanding the College’s Community Outreach Program. The Courant noted
that she “reaches out to others with a rare clarity of purpose and
social vision.” Prior to her election to the bench, McCormack was on the
faculty of the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as a
clinical professor of law, associate dean for clinical affairs, and
co-director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, a non-DNA clinic
representing wrongfully convicted Michigan prisoners. Earlier posts
included teaching at Yale and work as a staff attorney with the Office
of the Appellate Defender and as a senior trial attorney with the
Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society, both in New York
City. She earned her law degree from New York University School of Law.
Her sister, Mary Catherine McCormack, Trinity Class of 1991, was a
member of the cast of the television drama “The West Wing,” and her
brother, Will McCormack, Class of 1996, has appeared in “The Sopranos.”
Our second honorand is Professor Margaret Farley, the Gilbert L. Stark
Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at Yale University Divinity
School. She is the author or co-editor of seven books, including a new
revised edition of Personal Commitments: Beginning, Keeping, Changing; Compassionate Respect; and Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.
She has published more than 100 articles and chapters of books on
topics of ethical methodology, medical ethics, sexual ethics, social
ethics, historical theological ethics, ethics and spirituality, justice,
and HIV/AIDS. She is currently also co-director of the All-Africa
Conference: Sister to Sister, an organization that facilitates the work
of women in sub-Saharan Africa responding to the AIDS pandemic.
Professor Farley is the recipient of eleven honorary degrees and a
variety of fellowships and awards, including the 1992 John Courtney
Murray Award for Excellence in Theology and the 2008 Grawemeyer Award in
Religion for her book, Just Love. She has served on numerous
editorial and advisory boards and national ethics committees. She was a
founding member of Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Bioethics Committee, and
she served for eight years as co-director of the Yale University
Interdisciplinary Bioethics Center. She is past president of both the
Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of
America. Margaret Farley is a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the
Americas. She will deliver this year’s Baccalaureate address.
Our third honorand is Governor Michael Dukakis, former three-time
governor of the state of Massachusetts and the 1988 Democratic candidate
for president of the United States. He served four terms in the
Massachusetts House of Representatives between 1962 and 1970 and was
elected governor in 1974. He was re-elected in 1983 and was voted the
most effective governor in 1986 by the National Governors Association.
He was the Democratic candidate in the 1988 presidential election, the
year that Republican George H. W. Bush was elected. Following his career
in politics, Governor Dukakis became a professor of political science
at Northeastern University, visiting professor of political science at
Loyola Marymount University, and visiting professor in the School of
Public Affairs at UCLA. He continues to be an active voice for
grassroots campaigning and for better public transportation. He will
deliver a talk about the current political climate on Saturday, May 18
at 2:00 p.m. in McCook Auditorium.
The fourth honorand is already known to many on campus. Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe,
the book that the Class of 2013 read together at the opening of their
college career four years ago. As promised, she will return to campus
this spring to receive a degree along with this class. Kolbert has been a
staff writer at the New Yorker since 1999 and has written on a variety of topics, including extensive coverage of climate change. Previous to her work at the New Yorker, she held a variety of positions at the New York Times.
Kolbert studied literature at Yale University and was a Fulbright
Scholar in Germany. She has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship, an
American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award, a
Heinz Award, and the Sierra Club’s David R. Brower Award.
Additional information on the Commencement ceremony appears on the left
side of this Web site. In the meantime, please join me in celebrating
the Class of 2013 and our distinguished honorands.
Yours very truly,
James F. Jones, Jr.
President and Trinity College
Professor in the Humanities