Secretary of State to speak on Ellipse

Secretary of State Madeline Albright will be the keynote speaker at GW’s Commencement May 21, the University announced Wednesday.

Albright was sworn in as the 64th Secretary of State January 23, 1997. She is the first female secretary of state and the highest-ranking woman in government. Albright was previously the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Albright also has been president of the Center for National Policy – a non-profit research organization founded in 1981 that promote(s) the study and discussion of domestic and international issues, according to the State Department’s Web site. Albright will also receive an honorary doctorate at the Commencement ceremony.

The University also announced Wednesday that Georgia Congressman John Lewis (D), Sir Martin Gilbert, a historian and the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill, and World Bank Group President James D. Wolfensohn will receive honorary doctorate degrees.

Lewis has represented Georgia’s Congressional district since 1987 after being elected in November 1986. He became a critical leader in the 1960s’ civil rights movement. As a leader in the movement, he was arrested more than 40 times. At age 23, Lewis was a speaker and organizer in the August 1963 March on Washington. He received the first Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights from President Bill Clinton in 1998.

Gilbert’s work includes histories of the Holocaust, 20th century British politics, and both world wars, among others. In July 1999, Gilbert was named a distinguished fellow of the Claremont Institute. In this capacity, Gilbert continues his research on 20th century history and periodically visits the United States to give lectures at the Institute. He was knighted in 1995 and lives in London with his family.

Wolfensohn has served as the president of the World Bank since 1995. He was re-appointed in September 1999 to serve a second four-year term. He is the third president in the history of the World Bank to serve a second term. Wolfensohn was an international investment banker and served as president and chief executive officer of an investment bank that bears his name – James D. Wolfensohn, Inc. He founded the firm to assist U.S. and international companies in various financing activities. Before heading his own company, Wolfensohn worked in many different finance positions at companies, including Salomon Brothers and Schoders.

Commencement will be May 21 at 10 a.m. on the Ellipse. According to GW, about 3,500 graduates will take part in the ceremony and receive degrees with about 20,000 relatives and friends looking on.

I am delighted to have such a distinguished group of individuals appear before the graduating class of 2000, GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said, according to a press release. Their knowledge and experience span a wide range of human endeavor, and they represent the best of what our graduates can reach for as they continue in their lives.

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