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~National Public Radio's Linda Wertheimer Tells Wellesley College Graduates What the World Needs Now Is "A Few Good Women"~

For immediate release:
May 30, 2003

Arlie Corday,

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 in May.

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 for you."

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.


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