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~Whoopi Goldberg Delivers 2002 Commencement Speech ~

For immediate release:
May 31, 2002

Arlie Corday,
781-283-3321 or 2373

WELLESLEY, Mass.-- Actress, comedian and humanitarian Whoopi Goldberg addressed the 603 members of the Class of 2002 at Wellesley College's 124th Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 31. The class included 35 Davis Scholars, Wellesley's nontraditional college-age women.

"You will evolve and change-it's part of life," Goldberg said. "Things you thought were really smart two years ago may not seem as smart next year. But that's okay too. It's okay not to be absolutely sure what you what to do right now. Not everybody does now….You have the right to be whoever you want to be. And this, for me, is all that really matters."

Goldberg has received awards and wide acclaim for her work in film, television, recordings and theater. She has received Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe awards, NAACP Image Awards, People's Choice Awards and Nickelodeon Kids' Choice and various honors for her many humanitarian efforts.

Wellesley College President Diana Chapman Walsh welcomed Goldberg, the students, their families and friends to the gala event. In her traditional Charge to the Class, she reminded students that improving the world depends on a devotion to education. "We hope you'll always remember that official Wellesley motto, the commitment to serving others and orienting your lives toward a conception of the common good," Walsh said. "But please don't forget that the precondition for doing that effectively is that you must own and continue to hone the qualities of mind you began to develop here that distinguish a liberally educated person."

Student Commencement speaker Christine Dobridge of Rockville, Md., continued a Wellesley tradition begun when Hillary Rodham Clinton took the podium as a senior in 1969. Dobridge, an economics major, spoke about her memories and her hopes for the future. "In the end, we have to find our own truth, we have to discover our own passions, we have to write our own motto," said Dobridge, who will now work as a research assistant at the Council of Economic Advisors in Washington, D.C. "So be passionate, 2002. Search for this passion."

During the ceremony, retiring faculty members were honored for their years of service to Wellesley: Priscilla Benson, astronomy; Beverly Blazar and Mary Coyne, biological sciences; Margaret Merritt, chemistry; and Laurel Furumoto, psychology. Retiring trustees Kathryn Wasserman Davis, Class of 1928, and Cornelia Lichauco Fung, Class of 1963, were also honored.

Nicholas K. Doe, chemistry; Akila Weerapana, economics; and Maurizio S. Viano, Italian studies, were awarded the Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching, given each year to faculty members nominated by faculty, students, staff and alumnae. This year, a faculty-student committee selected the winners from more than 77 nomination letters for 34 professors.

Faculty honored with appointments to named chairs were Rosanna Hertz, Luella La Mer Professor of Women's Studies; Stephen Marini, Elizabeth Luce Moore Chair in Christian Studies; Alison Hickey, Barbara Morris Caspersen Associate Professor of Humanities; Barbara Beltz, Allene Lummis Russell '46 Chair in Neuroscience; and Martin Klein, Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professorship in the Humanities. The Alumnae Association's Faculty Service Award went to Karl E. Case, the Katherine Coman and A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Economics.

Founded in 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in liberal arts and the education of women for 125 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students.

Click here to go to the Commencement homepage for speeches and photos.


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