WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Veteran broadcast journalist Linda
Wertheimer addressed the Class of 2003 at Wellesley College's
125th Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 30, on the Wellesley,
Mass., campus. Wellesley conferred 612 bachelor of arts
degrees on 586 traditional-age graduating seniors and 26
non-traditional-age Davis scholars on a perfect morning
Wertheimer, a Wellesley alumna from the class of 1965,
is a familiar voice to listeners of National Public Radio
(NPR) where she has worked for more than 30 years, currently
as senior national correspondent. Before assuming this post
in 2002, she spent 13 years as a host of NPR's daily news
program, "All Things Considered."
Wertheimer noted in today's uncertain and conflict-ridden
world, the government and the military could use the infusion
of some new ideas, adding, "Maybe what's needed now
are a few good women."
She exhorted the graduating seniors to get involved with
both the electoral process and the world of politics. Lacking
other advice, she said, "I would suggest, vote all women.
Generally speaking, they haven't been around long enough
to be seriously evil."
As one who entered the world of journalism when it was,
as she said, "a man's world," she asked the graduates to
appreciate those who have broken through society's barriers.
"What we need, those of us who have gone through these brick
walls, is a little gratitude from you. We made some openings
She said she hoped one barrier that would be crossed by
this generation would be the age barrier. She wants society
to accept middle-aged and older women in top positions as
it does men such as 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace and Senator
Strom Thurmond. "I want to see the first little old ladies
stick it out at the top the way little old gentlemen do
now," she said.
Senior and College Government President Dana Weekes of
Odenton, Md., addressed her fellow graduates as the traditional
student Commencement speaker, asking them to "build the
stage for the next generation. Be the next trailblazer...
Be the next and/or be the first."
President Diana Chapman Walsh presented her annual "Charge
to the Class," offering both remembrances and advice. She
reminded graduates that the College counted on them to use
the "great privilege of the education you received here"
to help the world by mitigating its miseries.
But Walsh noted lessons also can be learned from senior
week, when time for fun and free time finally arrive.
"How deeply did you live life while you were here at the
side of this lake?" she asked. "How patient were you with
yourself and with others when you or they needed space just
to breathe? How many moments of grace did you allow yourself
to experience here?"
Three professors were awarded Pinanski teaching prizes,
chosen from nominations by the campus community. Winners
this year were Stanley Chang, mathematics; Roxanne Euben,
political science; Marilyn Sides, English. In addition,
five endowed professorships were awarded to Joseph Joyce,
economics; Kyle Kauffman, economics; Sally Merry, anthropology;
Craig Murphy, political science; and Elizabeth Varon, history.
Founded in 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in
liberal arts and the education of women for more than 125
years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home
to 2,300 undergraduate students.