First Ladies' First Joint Speech
Addresses 112th Commencement
Wellesley MA -- Presiding over Wellesley College's 112th
Commencement Exercises today, President Nannerl 0. Keohane
presented Bachelor of Arts degrees to 575* seniors,
including 25 continuing education students Commencement
speaker Barbara Bush, the United States' 38th First Lady,
and Raisa Gorbachev, First Lady of the Soviet Union, both
addressed the assembled crowd in an historic moment - their
first joint speaking event and Mrs. Gorbachev's first public
talk in this country.
Amid a display of international flags signifying the
cultural diversity of the Class of 190, the First Ladies
spoke to a crowd of about 5,000 - including graduating
seniors, their guests, faculty, and staff - under tents on
Barbara Pierce Bush is an active volunteer who promotes
literacy through organizations including Laubach Literacy
Volunteers, a worldwide program-committed to eradicating
illiteracy, the United Way's National Committee on Literacy
and Education, and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family
Literacy. She also supports projects on learning
disabilities, a food bank, and the Girl Scouts. Wife of
President George Bush, she has raised five children and
lived in 17 cities since her marriage in 1945. She has
received honorary degrees from institutions including Smith
College where she studied from 1943 until her marriage.
Raisa Maksimovna Gorbachev, wife of Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev, was selected in a 1987 international poll
of newspaper editors as one of the world's ten most
important women. At the prestigious Moscow State University,
she studied Marxist Leninist philosophy and married her
fellow student, Gorbachev. She earned an advanced degree
equivalent to a Ph.D. in 1967; her doctoral thesis is a
pioneering sociological study of rural living conditions
that influenced her husband's program to restructure the
economy. Married in 1955, she worked as a university
professor until 1985.
Senior Christine Bicknell spoke on behalf of the Class of
1990. Originally from Yarmouth, Maine, she majored in
American Studies and in Spanish.
President Keohane announced the three winners of the
Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
The President announced the retirements from the Board of
Trustees of Vice Chair Robert A. Lawrence, Carol Johnson
Johns 144, and Suzanne Carreau Mueller 146. All three served
maximum terms of 18 years and were named trustees emeriti.
Alumnae trustee Barbara Reade Levings 147 completed a six
A distinguished faculty member, Professor of History
Kathryn Conway Preyer, was granted emerita standing on her
retirement. She has taught at the College since 1955. A
specialist in American history and American legal history,
she has been a Charles Warren Fellow at Harvard University,
a Carnegie Fellow in Law and History at Harvard Law School,
and won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the
Humanities among other grants and awards.
"Courage and Light: Do you see what I see?" was the title
of the Baccalaureate address delivered on Thursday by
Marcellus Andrews, Assistant Professor of Economics.
Honors awarded to graduating seniors, announced
previously, include five awards from the Mellon Foundation,
the largest number ever won by a women's college. Other
grants and fellowships included awards from the Thomas J.
Watson Foundation, the Fulbright Scholarship Program, the
Brasenose College Charitable Foundation, the Government of
France, and the National Science Foundation.
*Students whose degrees were completed earlier, or whose
degrees will be conferred later upon the completion of
academic requirements, are not included in the 575 total.
The Commencement program includes these additional names.