Verveer, First U.S. Ambassador on Women's Issues, to Speak at F&M's 2013 Commencement

  • Melanne S. Verveer, the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, will deliver Franklin & Marshall College's Commencement address Saturday, May 11. (Photo provided courtesy of Georgetown University Office of Communications).

Melanne S. Verveer, the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues and also chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Clinton administration, will deliver Franklin & Marshall College's Commencement address Saturday, May 11.

During a ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. on Hartman Green, F&M will bestow an honorary degree on Verveer, who on Feb. 11 became executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security after stepping down from her U.S. Department of State post as women's issues ambassador. Two distinguished F&M alumni -- Stanley J. Dudrick, M.D., '57, an internationally renowned physician, and Jane Moss '74, vice president for programming at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts -- also will be awarded honorary degrees. For a full schedule of events, go to the Commencement 2013 website.

"We are privileged to recognize Ambassador Melanne Verveer, whose accomplishments as a global advocate for women are extraordinary, and two distinguished alumni whose achievements in biomedical research and the arts enhance our world," F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield said. "Each of our honorary degree recipients has made remarkable contributions and serves as an example for our graduating seniors as they prepare to launch new chapters of their lives."

Associate Professor of Psychology Michael Anderson, chair of the College's Honorary Degree Advisory Committee, said the committee is pleased and excited that Ambassador Verveer accepted the invitation to deliver the keynote address.

"I expect that her activism and achievements across a number of areas will be of great interest to our graduates and hope that she, along with the rest of the honorary degree recipients, will be an inspiration for them," Anderson said. "Together they represent some of the many possible paths to great accomplishment and service that our graduates begin to walk on Commencement day."

Verveer was named ambassador by President Barack Obama in 2009, having received recognition as the co-founder and chairman of the board of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nongovernmental organization that supports global women's leadership. The women's issues ambassador position was the first of its kind within the Department of State. As part of her responsibilities, Verveer coordinated foreign policy activities and matters relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women around the world.

In August, Forbes magazine featured Verveer and her picks for "The 5 Most Powerful Women Changing The World In Politics And Public Policy." In the piece, Verveer says:

Now, in a time of transformative change -- from the rise of new economic powers to a growing chorus of voices against repressive regimes … promoting the status of women is not just a moral imperative but a strategic one. It's essential to economic prosperity and to global peace and security.

At Georgetown, Verveer will lead another new initiative to advance the role of women in peace and security. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the formation of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security when she unveiled the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security during an address at Georgetown in December 2011, according to the university's website. The institute "will examine the role of women in peacemaking, post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, humanitarian relief and political transitions."

Verveer said in a telephone interview she plans to draw on news stories from around the world in her Commencement address at F&M, to illustrate the importance of women's issues and the obligations of women and men to be informed and to take action.

"I would like the graduates to think about why women's issues matter and to see that these issues are not just about women but about creating the kind of world we all want to see," Verveer said. 

Verveer received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgetown. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Women's Foreign Policy Group, and numerous other organizations, according to the university.

About the honorary degree recipients:

  • Stanley J. Dudrick, M.D., '57 (F&M Archives)

Stanley J. Dudrick, M.D., '57 performed pioneering and groundbreaking work in the development of intravenous hyperalimentation -- or processes of total parenteral nutrition that bypass regular processes of eating and digestion -- which revolutionized post-operative patient care. Dudrick has received worldwide recognition and more than 100 awards, honors and fellowships for his accomplishments and research. The Journal of the American Medical Association characterized his work as "one of the four most significant accomplishments in the history of modern surgery."

Dudrick received the Jacobson Innovation Award from the American College of Surgeons as a "major contributor to science, medicine and education for the initial research and ongoing contributions to the field of nutritional support for surgical patients." He also received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2007.

At F&M, Dudrick was a campus leader who graduated with honors, was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society, and was awarded the Williamson Medal, the highest honor bestowed on an undergraduate. He was an active member of the Board of Trustees from 1985 to 2011, when he was elected to emeritus status. During his service on the Board, he was a vice chair for six years and chair of fundraising for the Campaign for the Liberal Arts in the 1990s. F&M has honored Dudrick with a Distinguished Alumni Citation, the Alumni Medal, and a President's Medal.

He is a parent of a student from F&M's Class of 1988 and a grandparent of a student in the Class of 2010.

  • Jane Moss '74 (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Center)

Jane Moss '74 is vice president for programming at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. A native of Lancaster, Moss earned a degree in philosophy at Franklin & Marshall. Her father taught geology at the College.

Before becoming vice president of programming at Lincoln Center in 1992, Moss spent much of her professional life in theater administration and foundation work. As managing director of Playwrights Horizons in the late 1970s, she supervised more than 40 productions before transitioning to theater administration. Moss later worked as a consultant for the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund.

Moss is known at Lincoln Center for her distinctive style and for her interests and extraordinary connections, which bring in more than 300 performances to Lincoln Center every year.  

In a recent interview, Classical TV described Moss as someone who brings "the same kind of creativity and imagination (to her work) as performing artists bring to theirs" evidenced in such "iconic" events as the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Great Performers series, and the Lincoln Out of Doors and American Songbook Series.

"These have been hits on both critical and popular fronts, but they have also been some of the most successful cultural events ever, from a business point of view," said Steven Greco of Classical TV. "The cultural experiences that Moss creates dependably attract existing as well as new audiences, while deepening our understanding of great artists and works, and bolstering the institutional bottom line."

While planning the White Lights Festival, a musical program including the Westminster Choir, Tallis Scholars, and Muslim musicians from north India in 2010, Moss told the Los Angeles Times, "Experiencing art, including music, is essentially a contemplative act. You empty yourself out, and you let the art fill you up in some fashion. That requires time and space."

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