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Congressman Seth Moulton
April 20, 2016

Congressman Seth Moulton To Address UMass Boston Class Of 2016

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  • Boston
Human Rights Activist Jerry White to Deliver Keynote Address at Graduate Ceremony

Congressman Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts native and Marine veteran who served four tours in Iraq, including two as special assistant to General David Petraeus, will deliver the keynote address at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s 48th undergraduate commencement on Friday, May 27, at the TD Garden.

While a Marine Corps infantry officer, Moulton was in the first company of Marines to enter Baghdad in 2003. Now serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Moulton is focused on spurring economic growth for Massachusetts families and improving veterans’ health care through the Veterans Administration, from which he still receives his own medical care.

Moulton will receive a Chancellor’s Medal for his patriotism, for risking his life in the service of his country in Iraq, and for his commitment to public service through his work in Congress.

UMass Boston will award degrees to more than 4,100 graduates this year. To accommodate the record numbers, the university will hold two commencement ceremonies. The undergraduate ceremony will be held Friday, May 27 at 9:30 a.m. in the TD Garden. The graduate ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 26 at 3 p.m. in UMass Boston’s Clark Athletic Center. For more information, visit www.umb.edu/commencement.

Jerry White, a human rights activist who has spearheaded efforts to promote a mine-free Middle East following his own brush with death from an old land mine in Israel, will deliver the keynote address at the graduate ceremony. White will receive a Chancellor’s Medal for his determination in overcoming adversity and his inspired leadership as a humanitarian and human rights activist.

Moulton and White will be joined by honorees Roderick L. Ireland, the first African American appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts; Susan Akello Mboya, group director of Eurasia, Africa Group for women’s economic empowerment at Coca-Cola, and president of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation; Boston Public Schools educator and community leader Suzanne Lee; and the late Congressman Louis Stokes, a lawyer and legislator who became a powerful figure in the fight for civil rights and social justice.

The following degrees and medals will be awarded at the undergraduate ceremony:

Seth Moulton, Chancellor's Medal
Congressman Seth Moulton was elected to Congress in 2014 on a platform of bringing new, bipartisan leadership to Congress. Moulton previously served four tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantry officer, including two tours as a platoon commander and two as a special assistant to General David Petraeus. He left the Marines in 2008 with the rank of captain. Now serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Moulton is focused on spurring economic growth for Massachusetts families and improving veterans’ health care through the Veterans Administration, from which he still receives his own medical care. Moulton serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Budget Committee.

Suzanne Lee, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa
Educator and community leader Suzanne Lee has been organizing for equality, justice, and democracy for more than 40 years. Lee worked in the Boston Public Schools for 35 years, as a teacher and principal. She led a high-profile turnaround at the Baldwin School in Brighton, transforming a low-achieving and divided school into a national model for school improvement. In her 10-year tenure as principal at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School, the school was named one of the Best 100 Elementary Schools in Massachusetts. As a community leader, Lee helped immigrant mothers launch the first Chinese Parents Association and worked with unemployed garment workers to secure Boston’s first bilingual training programs.

The Honorable Louis Stokes (deceased), Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa
The late Congressman Louis Stokes, raised in Cleveland’s inner-city housing projects, rose to prominence as a lawyer and legislator, becoming a powerful figure in the fight for civil rights and social justice. In 1968, he ran for his district’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first African American congressman from Ohio. He served 15 consecutive terms in the House before retiring in 1999. During his tenure he cofounded the Congressional Black Caucus and served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. As chairman of the Select Committee on Assassinations, he conducted hearings on the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr., and President John F. Kennedy. As chairman of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (aka Ethics), he led the investigation into the ABSCAM corruption scandal. On August 18, 2015, he passed away at the age of 90.

The following degrees and medals will be awarded at the graduate ceremony:

Jerry White, Chancellor’s Medal
In 1984, human rights activist Jerry White lost his leg—and nearly his life—when he stepped on an old land mine while hiking in Israel. The incident inspired White to lead efforts to draft and enact laws that promote and protect the rights of 650 million people with disabilities around the world. White spearheaded efforts to promote a mine-free Middle East with King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan. As a result of his activism, the Israeli Knesset voted in 2010 to clear old minefields in Israel. Three of these campaigns led to major international treaties: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Cluster Munitions Treaty; and the Landmine Ban Treaty. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, co-led with the late Princess Diana and King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Honorable Roderick L. Ireland, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa
In 1997, Roderick L. Ireland became the first African American appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Massachusetts. In 2010, then-Governor Deval Patrick appointed him chief justice, making him the first African American to hold the position. In 1977, then-Governor Michael Dukakis appointed Ireland as a judge in Roxbury’s Boston Juvenile Court. He later served on the Massachusetts Appeals Court before his appointment to the SJC. In 2003, he was one of four justices to support the court’s landmark 2003 decision to legalize same-sex marriage. As chief justice, has presided over several high-profile decisions, including a ruling that found it unconstitutional to sentence teenagers convicted of murder to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Ireland retired in July 2014 after a 45-year legal career. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University.

Dr. Susan Akello Mboya, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa
Susan Akello Mboya is the group director of Eurasia, Africa Group (EAG) for women’s economic empowerment at Coca-Cola, and president of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF). She leads the deployment of TCCAF initiatives and the 5by20 initiative, a global effort to economically empower 5 million women by the year 2020. Mboya has forged public-private partnerships with the IFC, USAID, Plan UK, DFID, Technoserve, MercyCorps, and others to help resource, fund, and provide technical expertise for the 5by20 program, raising over $116 million. Mboya also is the founder of the Zawadi Africa Educational Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides young African women from disadvantaged backgrounds with scholarships at more than 65 universities in the United States and Canada.

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