Speakers chosen for graduation

By
May 1, 2003

Mills College Weekly

After a lengthy process, college officials and members of the senior class have chosen the speakers that will address the class of 2003 at graduation.

According to President Janet Holmgren, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes, from the District of Columbia, will give the commencement address.

Norton, the granddaughter of a former slave, is a nationally and internationally recognized leader, the recipient of 50 honorary degrees and has been labeled as one of the 50 most powerful women in Washington, Holmgren said.

Norton is also a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who argued anti-war cases.

She was the first African American woman to chair the Equal Opportunity Commission, where she wrote the country’s first guidelines on sexual harassment.

At the present, Norton is a professor of law at Georgetown University and serving her sixth term in Congress, where she continues her lifelong struggle for human rights, according to a Mills press release.

“She has been one of my heroes,” said Holmgren. “She is an incredibly courageous and articulate woman. We invited a number of speakers and we consider her to be an extraordinary catch.”

Although Norton could not be reached for comment, Holmgren said that Norton’s speech would cover her personal history, experiences of leadership and the current state of the world and nation.

“Since she is a prominent woman in the public sphere, she’ll have a lot to say to the class,” said senior Julie Trinder.

Director of Student Activities Liza Kuney said that members of the senior class, faculty and administration chose Trinder to be the senior speaker.

Trinder, a public policy major, has many accomplishments as well. She won a Truman Scholarship her junior year, was inducted into Palladium, the campus honorary society, and was a member of the first class of the Institute for Civic Leadership. During her three years at Mills she started the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and has been an active member of the Mary Atkins Lounge community.

Trinder said she is very honored to be able to speak to her fellow graduates.

“I tried to create a speech that was simply stated and that could be felt by the audience,” said Trinder.

According to Kuney, many seniors tried out to be the senior speaker. Three seniors were forwarded to the last round of the competition, where members of the faculty, senior class and administration got to choose the person that would speak at commencement.”All of the speeches were very good,” said Kuney. “All three of them could have been the speaker.”

However, Kuney said that getting the off-campus speaker was not so easy.

A list of speakers seniors had nominated was passed back and forth between the class and the president’s office since the fall semester.

Many of the speakers that were invited, such as Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Tony Morrison declined.

“Mills is a small private liberal arts college,” said Kuney.

“It’s not likely that we would have a large public figure speak. But we have excellent speakers every year. It’s very tough to hear back a ‘yes’ from someone who is a very famous public figure.”

Kuney said that the college is lucky to have President Holmgren because she has so many contacts.

Holmgren said she contacted Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a mills alumna, for assistance in getting the off-campus speaker.

“She [Lee] pressed Eleanor to come to her alma mater,” said Holmgren.

with health risks vulnerable to hysterectomies instead of the partial birth abortion method. Moreover the bill will ignore the life of the mother.

Kate Michelman, president of NARAL, said to the Washington Post that the introduction of the bill is “inflammatory.” Realizing that she has little power to stop passage of this bill she said, “We are climbing uphill.”

Furthermore the opponents of the ban argued that the bill not only violate Roe v. Wade, but it also violates the Stenberg v.Carhart 2000 decision in the state of Nebraska where five justices held that Roe v. Wade covers even partial-birth abortions.

As the decision is being weighed by the House, both Okazawa-Rey and Turner stress the importance of Mills women staying informed about what they say could be the beginning of dismantling of Roe v. Wade.

“The Bush administration has been very explicit about overturning Roe V. wade. It’s not a hidden agenda,” said Okazawa-Rey. ” It is a very explicit part of his political agenda, as is overturning affirmative action, and the global war on people of color. It is all part of the same package he is trying to deliver to people in the US and all around the world. And I think we should say no.”

Turner added, ” Just like people came out against the war we need to come out against this.”


Speakers chosen for graduation was published on May 1, 2003 in News

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