ABC Anchor Stephanopoulos to Deliver F&M Commencement Address

  • ABC anchor and former presidential advisor George Stephanopoulos will deliver Franklin & Marshall College's Commencement address at a ceremony Saturday, May 10. (Photo provided by ABC News).  

Host of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" and anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos, will deliver Franklin & Marshall College's Commencement address Saturday, May 10.

During a ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. on Hartman Green, F&M will bestow a Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Stephanopoulos. Prior to joining ABC News, Stephanopoulos was one of the youngest and most recognizable faces of President Bill Clinton's administration, serving as senior adviser for policy and strategy.

Two distinguished F&M alumni -- Caswell A. Evans Jr. '65, associate dean for prevention and public health sciences in the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois, and Jennifer Whiting '78, the Chancellor Jackman Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto -- also will be awarded honorary degrees.

"We are honored to welcome our distinguished guests at this year's Commencement ceremony as our newest graduates celebrate their great accomplishments and prepare to launch the next chapter of their lives," said F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield. "I am confident that the Class of 2014 will be inspired by the words of George Stephanopoulos, whose life and work exemplify the power of a liberal arts education and the many places it leads."

Glenn Ross, chair of the College's Honorary Degree Committee, noted that Stephanopoulos "has demonstrated distinctive achievement in his career in the fields of journalism, government and politics."

After graduating summa cum laude in political science from Columbia University, Stephanopoulos received his master's degree in theology from Balliol College, Oxford University, England, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

"It's not often you get the chance to see an old friend and congratulate new graduates," Stephanopoulos said in an email interview. "I can't wait to do both when I join President Porterfield and the class of 2014 on May 10. I’ve discovered I have more ties to Franklin & Marshall than I first imagined, and look forward to learning even more about your great school on this special day."

Stephanopoulos' F&M connections include two alumni who serve or have served on the Board of Trustees: his friend and attorney Stan Brand '70, a current trustee, and partner of the Brand Law Group and former counsel to U.S. House of Representatives, and fellow politico Ken Mehlman '88, a former F&M trustee and chief strategist for the re-election of George W. Bush. Mehlman now serves as global head of public affairs for KKR & Co., LP. Stephanopoulos and Porterfield also studied together as Rhodes Scholars. 

Stephanopoulos, the author of "All Too Human," a No. 1 New York Times bestseller about President Clinton's first term and the 1992 and 1996 Clinton/Gore campaigns, helped lead ABC's coverage throughout the 2012 election season. He and ABC News' Diane Sawyer also moderated two widely viewed Republican debates in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In his role as anchor, Stephanopoulos has conducted interviews with world leaders including President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"For more than a decade, his range and expertise has played a pivotal role in the network's coverage of breaking news stories, including his Emmy Award-winning coverage of the 2009 presidential inauguration, his contribution to ABC News' duPont Award-winning coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II, and his 'On the Trail' series, which was honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Political Journalism in 2007 and 2009," records ABC News in its official bio of Stephananopoulos. "Following the explosion of the Columbia shuttle, he anchored a two-hour special edition of 'This Week' on Feb. 2, 2003. And on Sept. 11, 2001, he was one of the first reporters on the scene at Ground Zero."

About the honorary degree recipients:

Dentist Caswell A. Evans Jr. '65, associate dean for prevention and public health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

Evans also teaches at the UIC School of Public Health, and is a member of the Illinois State Board of Health.

His efforts have resulted in national and international programs and policies that have benefited the oral health of hundreds of thousands of individuals, particularly in communities with limited access to oral health care. He is widely known for his work as the executive editor and project director for "Oral Health in America; A Report of the Surgeon General," released in May 2000. 

Evans is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Dental and Oral Surgery in New York City, and he earned his masters of public health degree from the University of Michigan.

Jennifer Whiting ’78, the Chancellor Jackman Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, also will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

A transformational intellectual leader and a distinguished alumna of the College, Whitings's research interests lie at the intersection of metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of mind, both ancient and modern. She has published extensively on Aristotelian ethics and personal identity, edited a volume on happiness and duty, and is currently working on issues of action and self-consciousness.

Before joining the University of Toronto, Whiting taught at Harvard and Cornell universities and the University of Pittsburgh.

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