Public Health Activist Ophelia Dahl Will Be
2006 Commencement Speaker at Wellesley College
March 13, 2006
Mass. – Global public health activist Ophelia
Dahl will address the members of the 544 members of the Class of
2006 and their families and friends at Wellesley College’s
128th Commencement Exercises on Thursday, June 1, at 10:30 a.m.
on Severance Green on the Wellesley, Mass., campus.
Dahl is a founding trustee and the executive director of Partners
In Health (PIH), an international organization that brings the
benefits of modern medical science to some of the most impoverished
areas of the world. Partners In Health and its co-founder Dr. Paul
Farmer were the subject of the best-seller, Mountains Beyond Mountains,
by Tracy Kidder.
A member of the Class of 1994, she arrived at Wellesley in 1989
after serving as a public health worker in Haiti for nearly seven
years. It was in Haiti that she met Farmer, and they worked together
to bring health care to the destitute sick, beginning with a few
villages in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Expanding on the effectiveness
of the community-based model in Haiti, Dahl has helped to establish
major PIH projects in poor communities around the world, including
Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Russia, Boston, and, most recently, Rwanda.
When PIH was awarded the 2005 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize,
the world’s largest humanitarian award, Dahl explained the
motivation behind the organization’s efforts. “We realized
that, if we were to truly improve the lives of the poor, we must
tackle the root causes of their illnesses. As a result, we address
health care in the broadest possible sense—not just providing
medicine, but also education, water, and housing.”
serves on the board of her family’s foundation
to honor the work of her father, the late writer Roald Dahl, and
is engaged in philanthropic works in the United States and England.
This year’s student Commencement speaker, senior Sophie Kim
of Alameda, Calif., continues a tradition that began with the first
student Commencement speaker, N.Y. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton,
a member of the Wellesley Class of 1969. A political science major,
Kim has served as chair of the Committee for Political and Legislative
Action, which presents issues of local, national and international
importance to the student body in a nonpartisan manner, and has
served on the 2005-2006 College Government Cabinet. She has been
active in the Political Science Majors Council and as a tutor for
the department, and has served as a research assistant for her
major adviser. She is also active in the Phi Sigma Lecture Society.
Last summer, she participated in the Wellesley in Washington internship
program in Washington, D.C., where she interned for a federal judge
on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She will
prepare for law school after graduation.
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an
excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference
in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300
undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. All
graduates earn a bachelor of arts degree.
For more on
Commencement 2006, visit Wellesley College Web site at www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Commencement/index.html.