Feminist author Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright are among the possible candidates for the 2003 commencement speaker and seniors are excited about making the decision.
Topping the list of possible choices compiled by President Holmgren is an array of speakers, such as Senator Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, Pat Pineda, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, President of Brown University Ruth Simmons, and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
“There has been a good response from seniors this year and we are very excited about president Holmgren’s choices,” said senior class president Nicole Urbach, “I voted for Maxine Hong Kingston.”
“I voted for Toni Morrison because her books inspire me,” said senior Yael Martinez.
“She is an important writer and tells stories, recounts history and comments on social facts about race.”
“I voted for Gloria Steinem,” said senior Jenni Owens.
“I think she’s been a powerful influence in women’s lives for over three decades.”
Stunned by the list of so many prominent women, students wondered how the list was compiled.
“The list is carried over from recommendations over the years,” said Holmgren.
“College officers, faculty, students and trustees all participated in the selection process.”
Holmgren hopes to get seniors their first choice, but cannot guarantee it. She is, nevertheless, confident that some of the speakers will accept the offer to address the graduating class.
“They wouldn’t be on the list if there wasn’t some possibility of them speaking,” she said.
The seniors have been involved in voting for their preferred speaker and the class officers will be ready to tally up the votes by today. Upon finding the results of the vote, president Holmgren will begin recruiting the speaker chosen by the senior class. She is unsure exactly when plans will be finalized.
In 1987, Toni Morrison became the first black woman writer to hold a named chair at an Ivy League university, Princeton, and in 1993 she became the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Maxine Hong Kingston has won critical acclaim for her books “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts” and “China Men,” where she integrates “Chinese rhythm, typical Chinese-American speech and rich imagery into modern prose,” said popular online magazine Voices from the Gaps. Gloria Steinem, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, the National Women’s Political Caucus and the Women’s Action Alliance, is also a candidate for commencement speaker.