Bob Schieffer named Commencement speaker

Schieffer, a retired journalist and broadcaster, will speak at Commencement. Photo courtesy of Williams College.

Bob Schieffer, retired reporter and journalist, will speak at the College’s 229th annual commencement on June 3. Janet Murguía, a civil rights activist, will speak at the baccalaureate service on June 2. In addition, both speakers will receive honorary degrees from the College, as will Mona Hanna-Attisha, a public health advocate, and John Irving, a prolific novelist.

Schieffer spent 46 years at CBS News, anchoring Face the Nation and CBS Evening News. He has won eight Emmys, met with and interviewed every president since Richard Nixon and written five bestselling books on his life in journalism. In addition, he moderated the final presidential debates of 2004, 2008 and 2012. The Library of Congress has named Schieffer a living legend. He has also served as the Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. Schieffer received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University.

Murguía is the Chief Executive Officer of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest nonprofit Latino/a advocacy group. The organization works to give Latino/a people a voice on issues such as immigration, civil rights and education. Murguía was also a deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton, deputy campaign manager to Al Gore in 2000 and executive vice chancellor for university relations for the University of Kansas, where she received her bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and Juris Doctor degrees.

Hanna-Attisha is a public health advocate who conducted the original research that revealed lead contamination in the water of Flint, Mich. She chairs three public health commissions that were formed in response to the Flint water crisis: the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee, the Michigan Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board and the Michigan Public Health Commission. On June 19, she will publish a book about her experience and work titled What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance and Hope in an American City. She received her bachelor’s and master of public health degrees from the University of Michigan and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

John Irving is a novelist and screenwriter whose works include Setting Free the Bears, The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Widow for One Year. His screenplay for The Cider House Rules won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1999. Many of his other books have also been adapted into movies, and he has received prestigious awards, including the National Book Award for Fiction. Irving received his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and his master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa.

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