Dr. Cheryl L. Dorsey, a Harvard trained physician who started a community-based mobile health unit and who, as the president of Echoing Green, is a global leader in the social impact movement, will deliver this year’s Commencement address on Sunday, May 15.
The HWS Commencement ceremony with procession will begin in the Robert A. Bristol ’31 Field House, where 496 students will earn bachelor’s degrees, seven graduate students will earn their Master of Arts in Teaching and four students complete the ARC College Experience Program.
The Colleges will host a live stream video of the event beginning at 10:30 a.m. Commencement will also be broadcast live on WEOS 89.5FM and 90.3FM and in Mandarin on WHWS 105.7FM. On campus, the ceremony will be streamed live in Gulick 100 and Albright Auditorium.
At the ceremony, five honorary degrees will be awarded to individuals whose spirit of service enhances local, national and global communities. They include: Dorsey; Judith Hershey Melly, civic leader; Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09, financial planner and chair of the Board of Hobart and William Smith; Joan Hinde Stewart, president of Hamilton College; and John F. Collins P’72, P’74, P’84, P’90, GP’09, GP’12, GP’18, World War II veteran and retired New York City police officer. Two area teachers also will be honored with the Touching the Future Award, which recognizes educators for the significant and enduring role they’ve played in the lives of HWS students.
As the head of Echoing Green, Dorsey leads the global social impact organization as it supports burgeoning talents and ideas in solving the world’s biggest problems. Started in 1987, Echoing Green provides seed-stage funding for emerging leaders in social change, aids leadership development in social entrepreneurship movements, and invests in non-profit organizations and for-profit companies that generate social and environmental impact.
“Dr. Cheryl Dorsey’s commitment to service and her creative vision in solving the pressing social questions of our time reflect the values and ambitions we prize at Hobart and William Smith,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “In welcoming her as our 2016 Commencement speaker, we have a tremendous opportunity to reflect not only on her accomplishments in government and in the nonprofit sector, but the ideals that have guided her career. I can think of no better way to send off our graduating classes.”
Dorsey herself was a social entrepreneur, earning an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1992 to help launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston that continues to provide critical access to health care, improving the health status of residents of Boston’s most underserved communities. She became the first Echoing Green Fellow to head the social venture fund in 2002.
Dorsey has received numerous awards for her commitment to public service, including the Pfizer Roerig History of Medicine Award, the Robert Kennedy Distinguished Public Service Award, and the Manual C. Carballo Memorial Prize. She was also featured as one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School in 2009, and as one of The Nonprofit Times’ “Power and Influence Top 50” in 2010 and 2011.
She has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); Special Assistant to the Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and Vice Chair for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-present).
Dorsey earned her bachelor’s degree in history and science magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and her master’s in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School. She completed her pediatric residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She serves on several boards including the Harvard Board of Overseers and the SEED Foundation.
Commencement 2016 marks the 191st graduation for Hobart and the 105th for William Smith. It will be held on the Hobart Quadrangle beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 15.