The University announced today that Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will be the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2013.
Kenny assumed office as Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland in March of 2011. He is a member of the Irish Fine Gael political party and established a coalition government with the Labour Party at the beginning of his term. Before his election as prime minister, Kenny served as Ireland’s Minister for Tourism and Trade from 1994 to 1997, and has served as a Teachta Dala-a parliamentary representative-since 1975.
Kenny was in the news in relation to BC earlier this year after he issued a public apology to the survivors of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries in February. James Smith, a professor in the English department, worked extensively in order to bring the abuses suffered by women in the workhouse system to light, and contributed heavily to the McAleese Report, which prompted Kenny’s apology on behalf of the state.
“Prime Minister Kenny is an internationally respected leader with a well-known reputation for promoting human rights and causes of social justice, two issues that resonate with the Boston College community,” said University Spokesman Jack Dunn. “It also seems fitting, during our 150th anniversary, to welcome the leader of a nation whose history is intertwined with our own. We look forward to having the Taoiseach address our students on May 20.”
University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. will present an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Kenny at the ceremony.
Four other honorary degrees will be awarded at the Commencement ceremony to individuals with strong ties to the University and the Greater Boston community.
Wayne Budd, a former member of the BC Board of Trustees, former adjunct faculty member at the BC Law School, and BC ’63, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony. Budd served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1989 to 1992, and was the Associate Attorney General of the U.S. during the administration of President of the United States George H.W. Bush.
Mary Lou DeLong, retired vice president for University relations and former University secretary, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Human Letters degree. While at BC, DeLong served in a number of roles, including chairing the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, overseeing the “Ever to Excel” fundraising campaign-which concluded in 2003 after raising $441 million-and acting as senior liaison to the Council for Women of Boston College.
Cornelia Kelley, headmaster emerita of Boston Latin School, the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States, will also receive an honorary Doctor of Human Letters degree at the ceremony. Kelley, who was Boston Latin’s first female headmaster, is an alumna of Newton College of the Sacred Heart and currently serves on both the Commission on American and Independent Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Rev. James Woods, S.J., the founding dean and namesake of the Woods College of Advancing Studies (WCAS), will also receive an honorary Doctor of Human Letters at the Commencement ceremony. Woods, who served as dean of WCAS for 44 years before stepping down last year, is a native of Dorchester and an alumnus of Boston College High School, BC, Weston College, and Boston University.
The Commencement ceremony will be held in Alumni Stadium at 10 a.m. on May 20.