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And the Commencement Speaker Is…

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder


A moment captured from last year's senior breakfast. Follow @lesliefriday on Twitter for pictures and updates from the ceremony. Photo by Vernon Doucette

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., will deliver the 2010 Commencement address at the University’s 137th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 16. Holder’s scheduled appearance, announced by BU President Robert A.Brown to more than 4,000 seniors at this morning’s Senior Breakfast, marks the first time a standing U.S. attorney general has addressed the University’s graduating classes.

Holder was deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton and was an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia under President Ronald Reagan. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.

Holder will also give the School of Law’s convocation address at Agganis Arena, just hours before addressing all seniors.

A buzz hummed through the crowd after Brown announced the Commencement speaker and Holder’s picture flashed across the projection screen.

Brown also revealed that this year’s Commencement Day Baccalaureate speaker will be Wafaa El-Sadr, a physician, a professor, and director of the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs and the Global Health Initiative at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. El-Sadr, a native of Egypt, is known for her work with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS programs at the Harlem Hospital Center and in developing nations. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Science.

Brown also named the other honorary degree recipients and the winners of the University’s highest teaching awards, the Metcalf Cup and Prize and Awards for Teaching Excellence.

The honorary degree recipients are:

Edward Albee, playwright and Pulitzer winner, Doctor of Letters.

William T. Coleman, Jr., senior partner and senior counselor in the international firm O’Melveny & Myers, who served under six U.S. presidents, Doctor of Laws.

Osamu Shimomura, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a BU School of Medicine professor emeritus, Doctor of Science.

The 2010 Metcalf Cup and Prize, the University’s highest teaching honor, will be given to James G. McDaniel, a College of Engineering associate professor of mechanical engineering and associate chair of undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering.

Sandra Nicolucci, a College of Fine Arts associate professor of music education, will receive a Metcalf Award.

John P. Caradonna, an associate professor of chemistry and director of undergraduate studies in the College of Arts & Sciences, will also receive a Metcalf Award.

BU Today will profile all three Metcalf recipients starting Monday, so check back for in-depth stories about the awarding-winning professors.

Brown ticked off a quick history of what’s happened during the seniors’ tenure at BU — from the construction of StuVi2 and a change in the student guest policy to the revamping of Commonwealth Avenue and the recent financial crisis. Through it all, seniors stuck together.

“You are one of the classes with the highest retention rates in BU history,” Brown said.

Three seniors were recognized for their accomplishments. Ariana Sherman (CAS’10) and Colleen Huysman (COM’10) received Commitment to Service Awards, and Natasha Gacinski (CAS’10) received a Community Service Award. And Emily Pallotta (SMG’10) earned the Alumni Association’s Student Leader Award.

Referring to the seniors’ many athletic, academic, and service accomplishments, Brown said: “I hope your pride in the University comes from a whole lot of different sources.”

Check here for more information about Commencement events.

Leslie Friday can be reached at lfriday@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @lesliefriday to find out minute-by-minute updates from the breakfast.


9 Comments on And the Commencement Speaker Is…

  • Anonymous on 04.30.2010 at 8:20 am

    HUURRRAAYYY !!!! Congratulations to you all!!! Job Well Done!!!! Now Go out into the world and give ’em what ya got!

  • Anonymous on 04.30.2010 at 9:23 am

    Great Job Seniors!! Congratulations to all of you!

  • DAD on 04.30.2010 at 10:47 am



    YOU AMAZE ME!!!!

    LOVE YOU!!

  • Anonymous on 04.30.2010 at 12:53 pm

    Commencement Speaker

    It disappoints me that BU would have a commencement speaker who is clearly more interested in the rights of terrorists than the rights of US citizens. No wonder we have such discourse in our country.

  • Anonymous on 04.30.2010 at 2:27 pm

    Re. Commencement speaker

    Let’s have the facts speak for themselves instead of flawed political rhetoric:
    Mr. Holder said on Nov. 13, 2009, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, will be tried in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a decision that ignited a sharp political debate but took a step toward resolving one of the most pressing terrorism detention issues. Mr. Holder said he would instruct prosecutors to seek death sentences for Mr. Mohammed and four accused Sept. 11 co-conspirators who would be tried alongside him.

  • Anonymous on 05.02.2010 at 5:00 pm

    There seem to be several typos in this release. I also wish the university would stay away from speakers who seem so incredibly partisan. (Eric Holder this year, Howard Dean and Mike Capuano last year….)

  • Anonymous on 05.02.2010 at 7:01 pm

    So excited that U.S Attorney General Holder is the commencement speaker!!!!! Also, can BU Today write a paper explaining exactly what the senior gift is? So far, no one that I have talked to knows/understands the purpose of that thing. After 4 years of paying BU tuition, one would expect that they would give us something useful – but then, this cup/bowl thing may be useful – who knows.

  • Anonymous on 05.10.2010 at 9:32 pm

    Another failure...

    Eric Holder? How is that, in any way, interesting, or inspiring? Newsflash to the people who make these decisions: political types do NOT make good commencement speakers unless they are of the rock star ilk such as Obama, either Clinton, and a few other notables.

    A boring, generally wrong-headed wonk is all this guy is. Stay home, sleep in, skip this mess entirely. Why would anyone give up sleeping in their bed to go sleep at Nickerson?

    Epic. Fail.

  • Anonymous on 05.10.2010 at 11:09 pm

    What a disappointment. Holder is against waterboarding, has called the United States “a nation of cowards” on race relations and was a strong advocate for closing the Guantanomo terrorist camp. I am sure he disagrees with the Arizona illegal aliens statute. What positive message could he send to our graduates?

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