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June 1, 1990


Mary Ann Hill
(781) 283-2373

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 Severance Green.

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 year term.

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.


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