GENEVA, N.Y.-Gwen Ifill, the moderator and managing editor of PBS' “Washington Week in Review,” will be the keynote speaker for Commencement exercises for the Hobart and William Smith Classes of 2001. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 13, on the Hobart Quadrangle. Ifill will receive an honorary degree from the Colleges during the ceremony.
Ifill was selected as Commencement speaker and as the Doctor of Humane Letters degree recipient in recognition of her many years serving the American public as a journalist. A veteran reporter, Ifill has been the moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” since 1999. She joined the show from NBC News, where she served as chief congressional and political correspondent. At NBC News she covered the premier political stories affecting the nation, including presidential campaigns, key legislative issues in Congress, and the impeachment of President Clinton. Her reports appeared on the “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today,” and the all-news cable network MSNBC, and she was a frequent panelist on “Meet the Press.”
Ifill joined NBC News after having served as White House correspondent for The New York Times. She has also covered politics and government for The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and the Boston Herald American.
Ifill is a graduate of Simmons College in Boston, where she earned a degree in communications, and has been the recipient of five honorary degrees. She chairs the board of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Journalism Awards and is a board member of the Harvard Institute of Politics. Ifill also is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. She lives in Washington, D.C.
“Gwen Ifill represents the best of today's journalists. She's smart, fair and accurate. Hobart and William Smith graduates and their families will hear from one of the most respected reporters of our time,” said HWS president Mark Gearan.
Commencement 2001 marks the 176th Commencement for Hobart College and the 90th Commencement for William Smith College. Undergraduate degrees will be awarded to 206 William Smith students and 210 Hobart students. The graduates will be ushered to the Quad by the Mohawk Valley Frasers, a bagpipe ensemble. Senior speakers are Leo Rhodes III, of Henrietta, N.Y., who will give a talk titled “The Value of Our Experience” and Jillian Oberfield, of Glen Mills, Pa., who will give a talk titled “Make it Count” at Commencement.
In addition to Ifill, honorary degrees will be given to Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, of Morristown, N.J., a 1969 Hobart graduate, Sister Mary Turley, founder of the Flax Trust, and former HWS Trustees John Horvath, a partner for 24 years at Arthur Andersen & Company of Rochester, N.Y., and Bruce N. Bensley, a 1951 graduate of Hobart College, and trustee of the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions, located in Geneva, N.Y.–the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The Colleges, which have a combined enrollment of 1,800, offer a remarkably broad array of majors and minors, with a cross-disciplinary flavor intended to better inform both professional and intellectual pursuits. The Colleges are noted also for an ambitious emphasis on international study and for their programs in community service. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women share faculty, facilities, and curriculum, but maintain separate dean's offices, athletics programs, student governments, and traditions.
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