Senator Ted Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts is apparently the commencement speaker for this year (although if there’s been any real effort at on-campus publicity on the subject, Wesleying hasn’t caught wind of any of it.)
According the Wesleyan Connection newsletter, the one and only Pres. Michael Roth has commented that, “Senator Kennedy has long been a thoughtful and energetic supporter of higher education in the United States. In this time of great change at our universities, it is particularly important to hear his perspective.”
The article continues:
“Throughout his career, Kennedy has been an advocate for universal health care, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, defending the rights of workers and their families, strengthening civil rights, assisting individuals with disabilities, fighting for cleaner water and cleaner air, and protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.
‘Senator Kennedy’s career of service to our highest national ideals models the qualities of leadership and civic engagement that liberal arts colleges and unversities seek to develop in our students,” Roth says. “We are proud to host so powerful an advocate for education and civil rights, and particularly to have him address our graduating seniors, their families, and the larger Wesleyan community.’
Kennedy is currently the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee, where he is the s enior Democrat on the Immigration Subcommittee, and on the Armed Services Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Seapower Subcommittee.”
Kennedy is tied to Wesleyan through his son, Edward Jr.,’84, and his step-daughter, who will graduate this May. He’s been known to make appearances at Homecoming Weekend, so I suppose this isn’t an enormous surprise. Nevertheless, he should have some interesting things to say.