Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich to speak at Bates Commencement

Robert B. Reich, U.S. Secretary of Labor during President Bill Clinton’s first term, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and speak at the 135th commencement at Bates College. Donald W. Harward, president of Bates College, will confer bachelor’s degrees on approximately 450 seniors at 10 a.m. Monday, June 4, in an outdoor ceremony on the quad in front of Coram Library. In the event of rain, graduation exercises will be held in the nearby Margaret Hopkins Merrill Gymnasium.

Joining Reich as honorary-degree recipients will be Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist, social critic and novelist Anna Quindlen; noted scholar, public servant and civil rights champion Mary Frances Berry; Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.; and highly-regarded corporate and community leader, and retiring chair of the Bates board of trustees, James L. Moody, Jr., Bates class of 1953.

Known as one of the world’s most influential thinkers on the future of work and the economy, Robert B. Reich served as secretary of labor during the first term of the Clinton administration. A frequent contributor to The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times and numerous other media in print, television and radio, Reich’s ideas about the potential of human beings to lead full and productive lives have gained an enthusiastic following. Reich, now the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at Brandeis University, also serves on the board of advisers for eWork Exchange, helping to make the workplace of the future a reality.

During his tenure as labor secretary, the labor department moved forward on groundbreaking initiatives, such as the School-to-Work Opportunities Act and Goals 2000, aimed at building the skills of American workers.

Reich renewed the department’s commitment to protecting workers, initiating a crusade to abolish sweatshops in the United States and to eradicate child labor worldwide. Under Reich, the Family and Medical Leave Act was passed and implemented and the minimum wage was raised. Before heading the labor department, Reich was a member of the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served as assistant to the solicitor general in the Ford administration representing the United States before the U.S. Supreme Court, and he headed the policy planning staff of the Federal Trade Commission in the Carter administration.

Reich is the author of eight books including, The Future of Success, which reveals the human side of the new economy. His book The Work of Nations has been translated into 22 languages. He has written more than 200 articles on the global economy, the changing nature of work, and the centrality of human capital. A consultant to many governments and corporations, Reich can be heard on Public Radio’s Marketplace.

A best-selling novelist, social critic, and Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist, Anna Quindlen has influenced national opinion with personal, humane, and powerful insights. Striking a delicate balance between the political and the personal, she provides a realistic picture of modern life. Quindlen joined Newsweek as a contributing editor in 1999 and her writing has appeared in America’s leading newspapers, in most widely-read magazines, and on both fiction and non-fiction lists. While a New York Times columnist from 1981 to 1994, she became only the third woman in the paper’s history to write a regular column, “Public & Private,” for its influential op-ed page, where she offered fresh perspectives on such subjects as homelessness, abortion, the Persian Gulf War, and the controversial confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. A collection of those columns, Thinking Out Loud, was published in 1995.

Awarded the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for nationally-syndicated commentary, Quindlen left The New York Times and journalism in 1995 to pursue a career as a full-time novelist. Her first novel, the critically-acclaimed Object Lessons, was followed by One True Thing, subsequently produced as a film.

Quindlen is the author of two children’s books, The Tree That Came to Stay and Happily Ever After; several collections of essays, including How Reading Changed My Life and A Short Guide to a Happy Life; and the text of the photographic books Naked Babies and Siblings. A Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale and a Victoria Fellow in Contemporary Issues at Rutgers, Quindlen was elected a 1996 Fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a graduate of Barnard College.

A scholar trained in history and law, a public servant, and a civil rights activist of international renown, Mary Frances Berry has devoted her life to speaking out against injustice. The Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches history and law, Berry has served as the chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights since 1993, she was first appointed to the commission by President Carter and confirmed by the Senate in 1980. After President Reagan fired her for criticizing his civil rights policies, Berry won reinstatement in U.S. District Court. As a founder of the Free South Africa Movement, her sit-in, arrest, and incarceration to protest racial injustice in South Africa also established her recognition as a national and international activist. Berry became the first African-American woman to serve as chancellor of a major research university when, in 1976, she accepted the position at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

In response to a call from President Carter, she took a leave from Colorado to serve as assistant secretary of education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, becoming the first African-American woman to hold the post of the nation’s chief educational officer. Her place in history, however, has been determined not only by her prestigious appointments and political activism, but also by her contributions as a historian.

The past president of the Organization of American Historians, Berry is the author of articles and essays as well as seven books, including The Pig Farmer’s Daughter and Other Tales of Law and Justice: Race and Sex in the Courts, 1865 to the Present , and Long Memory: The Black Experience in America, co-authored by John Blassingame.

Born in Nashville, Tenn., Berry earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University, a doctorate in history from the University of Michigan, and a juris doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her public service and scholarship, including the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins Award, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Rosa Parks Award and the Hubert Humphrey Award of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., has long been committed to the advancement of scientific knowledge through research and broadening the scope of science education. Known for his work in biochemistry and molecular biology and an extensive study of the protein complexes that allow chromosomes to be replicated, Alberts earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. He joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1966 and after 10 years moved to the department of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, where he became chair. He is a major advocate of educational projects such as City Science, a program that seeks to improve science teaching in San Francisco elementary schools.

As president of the National Academy of Sciences, Alberts has proposed major changes in science education from kindergarten through high school, that push for an unprecedented collaboration of teachers, scientists and education specialists and higher standards for science education for children.

He is the principal author of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, the leading advanced textbook in the field. His most recent text, Essential Cell Biology, is intended to present its subject matter to a wider audience. Alberts has sought to provide science education for all students, not just those interested in becoming scientists. He believes that our economy and ability to compete is directly linked to the scientific preparation of the American public.

A highly regarded corporate and community leader in Maine, James L. Moody, Jr. graduated from Bates in 1953 with a degree in Economics. He is the son of a 1929 Bates alumna who taught school in Gorham, Maine. Moody began his professional career with General Electric; he joined the Maine-based Hannaford Bros. Co. in 1959 and rose rapidly to its senior leadership.

He served as chief executive officer and as board chairman before retiring fully in 1997. This month, Moody will retire as chairperson of the board of trustees at Bates College, a position he has held for 14 years. A Bates trustee since 1968, Moody has effectively guided Bates to recognition as one of the nation’s finest colleges. His philanthropy has led the college’s fund raising objectives, including endowing the James L. Moody, Jr. Family Professorship in the Performing Arts. Through his service he has encouraged the successes of the college, reflecting in his own leadership the qualities of respect, great decency and selfless support. Moody has served as director of several publicly-held companies, including UnumProvident, Staples Inc., and IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. His dedication to the community has included serving as president of the Portland United Way, chairman of the Food Marketing Institute, and chairman of the board of Maine Medical Center.

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