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Georgetown Announces 2010 Commencement Speakers
Johnson Sirleaf, Schieffer and Mutombo among those slated to speak
Republic of Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, CBS Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer, NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Schapiro are among the nine speakers slated for Georgetown’s 2010 commencement.

Also speaking at the May 20-23 commencement exercises are parasitologist Dr. David Molyneux; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones; Dr. Reed Tuckson, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group; CEO Sheila C. Johnson; and British Supreme Court Justice and Baroness Brenda Hale. Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, will speak at the ROTC Commissioning Ceremony.

Georgetown holds individual commencement ceremonies for each undergraduate and professional school after a series of awards ceremonies and celebrations on campus that begin with Senior Convocation on May 20.

“Our commencement speakers are exceptional individuals who represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “They’ve devoted themselves to addressing critical issues around the world, and they represent the many opportunities that await our graduates.”

The 2010 Commencement ceremonies, speakers and short biographies are listed below.

Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business, MBA Program

Friday, May 21, Healy Lawn, 11 a.m.

Mary Schapiro, chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was appointed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She is the first woman to serve as the agency’s permanent chair. Prior to her current position, she was CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) -- the largest nongovernmental regulator for all securities firms doing business with the U.S. public. Schapiro previously served as a commissioner of the SEC from 1988 to 1994. First appointed by President Ronald Reagan and reappointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, President Bill Clinton named her acting chair in 1993.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Friday, May 21, Healy Lawn, 2:30 p.m.

Edward P. Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who was born and still lives in Washington, D.C. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his  2003 work of historical fiction, The Known World. Other recognitions for the book include the National Book Critic’s Circle award, the Lannan Literary Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2004, Jones received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, often referred to as the “genius award.” He is also the author of two collections of short stories based on life in Washington, D.C. His first, the 1991 “Lost in the City,” was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the PEN/Hemmingway Award. His second collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, came out in 2006. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree from The College of the Holy Cross and an M.F.A. from the University of Virginia.

Georgetown College

Saturday, May 22, Healy Lawn, 9 a.m.

NBA legend and Georgetown alumnus Dikembe Mutombo (SLL’91) played 18 seasons in the NBA and has long made it a priority to improve the health, education and quality of life for the people his native Congo. In 1997, he founded the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for people in republic. The foundation provides comprehensive health care at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, and promotes primary health care, disease prevention, health policy, health research and increased access to health care education. Mutombo is the recipient of Georgetown’s seventh annual John Thompson Legacy of a Dream Award in honor of his work to better the lives of others. His other awards include being named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and receiving the Ernie Davis Humanitarian Award, NAACP Phoenix Award and the U.S. President’s Service Award.

School of Nursing & Health Studies

Saturday, May 22, Healy Lawn, noon

Dr. David Molyneux is renowned throughout the world for his steadfast service in championing the vulnerable, curing the afflicted and leading the fight against neglected tropical diseases. He earned a M.A. and Ph.D. from Cambridge University in parasitology, and gained firsthand experience at the Nigerian Institute of Trypanosomiasis Research in the early 1970s, at a time when little attention was focused on the diseases that persist among the poorest and most vulnerable. Trypanosomiasis, also known as “sleeping sickness,” is typically brought on by a bite from an infected tsetse fly and results in fever, headaches, extreme exhaustion, weight loss and death if untreated. Molyneux has worked for the World Health Organization and taught at the University of Salford and the Liverpool University’s School of Tropical Medicine. A tireless advocate and educator, Molyneux has published more than 300 scientific papers.

Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service

Saturday, May 22, Healy Lawn, 3 p.m.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th president of the Republic of Liberia and has led a distinguished career spanning nearly four decades in the private and public domain in Liberia and internationally. Upon her election in 2005 she became Africa’s first female president. She began her career in banking and financial management, serving as Liberia’s minister of finance until a military coup in 1980 transitioned her out of public office. Sirleaf went on to serve as president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), vice president of CITICORP’s Africa Regional Office in Nairobi and senior loan officer at the World Bank, where she was an initial member of the World Bank Council of African Advisors. After years of fighting for freedom, justice and equality in Liberia, spending time in jail and being forced into exile more than once, Sirleaf is now entrusted with the challenging task of rebuilding a post-conflict nation. She continues to work toward reviving national hope and restoring Liberia’s international reputation and credibility.

Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business

Saturday, May 22, Healy Lawn, 6 p.m.

Sheila C. Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hospitality, founded her company in 2005, and oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties. She is also the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams – the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals. As a founding partner of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and a film producer, Johnson has long been a powerful influence in the entertainment industry. In 2006 Johnson was named global ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty through empowering women.

School of Continuing Studies

Saturday, May 22, McDonough Arena, 6 p.m.

Bob Schieffer, CBS News chief Washington correspondent and moderator of CBS Face the Nation is one of only a few journalists to have covered all four major beats in the nation’s capital – the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and Capitol Hill and has been in the news business decades. He has covered every presidential campaign and been a floor reporter at all of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions since 1972. Schieffer is a member of the Broadcasting/Cable Hall of Fame and has won many other broadcast journalism awards, including seven Emmy Awards, one of which was for Lifetime Achievement. In 2008, the Library of Congress named Schieffer a “Living Legend.” He is the author of several books, including the 2003 New York Times bestseller, This Just In: What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV.

School of Medicine

Sunday, May 23, Constitution Hall, 11 a.m.

Dr. Reed Tuckson (M'78) is the executive vice president and chief of medical affairs at UnitedHealth Group and a graduate of Howard University, Georgetown’s School of Medicine, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s General Internal Medicine Residency and Fellowship Programs. In 2009, Tuckson was named to Black Enterprise magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.” Tuckson was named one of Modern Healthcare Magazine’s “2008 Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare” and to Ebony magazine’s “2008 Power 150: The Most Influential Blacks in America” list. Tuckson previously served as senior vice president, professional standards, for the American Medical Association (AMA). He is former president of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles; has served as senior vice president for programs of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; and is a former commissioner of public health for the District of Columbia.

Georgetown University Law Center

Sunday, May 23, Healy Lawn, 2 p.m.

The Right Honourable Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond (London) is recognized around the world as a leader in law. In January 2004, she became the first woman to serve in the House of Lords as a “Lord of Appeal in Ordinary,” the equivalent of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Last year, Hale and the other “Law Lords” officially became the “justices” of the new U.K. Supreme Court. A graduate of Girton College, University of Cambridge, in 1966, she practiced at the Manchester Bar and taught Law at Manchester University and at King’s College. She specialized in several fields, including pioneering work in mental health law, family law and social welfare law. Hale has been a clear and important voice for women’s equality, both before and since her appointment to the U.K.’s highest court.

Other Speakers for Commencement Weekend

Other guest speakers during the May 20 - 23 Commencement weekend include Jennifer Howitt Browning (SFS’05) who will speak during the May 20 Senior Convocation. Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, will speak during the May 21 ROTC Commissioning Ceremony. 

This year also marks the second graduating class of students from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service-Qatar campus. Commencement exercises will be held in Doha, Qatar on May 8, with Georgetown President John J. DeGioia delivering the commencement address.

(April 27, 2010)

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