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2015 Commencement Speakers

Graduation is just a few short weeks away and the much anticipated speakers have been announced! David Gergen, Harvard Professor of Public Service, best-selling author, political advisor to four U.S. presidents, and CNN senior political analyst, will be delivering HWS’ 2015 Commencement Address and Lesley Adams, Chaplain of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will deliver the Baccalaureate Address!

After graduating with honors from Yale University in 1963 and then Harvard Law School in 1967, Gergen began his political career as a staff assistant on the speech writing team under President Nixon. He then served in the administration of President Gerald Ford, as an advisor to President George H.W. Bush presidential campaign, a director of communications for President Reagan, and as a counselor to President Bill Clinton on foreign policy and domestic affairs. In the 1980’s, Gergen worked as a journalist and later went on to publish a New York Times best-seller titled, “Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.” He is currently a contributor for a monthly column in Parade Magazine.

Gergen has spent much of his life devoted to public service, an area that many HWS students are passionate about, and is the co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School. Since beginning his work at Harvard in 1999, Gergen has worked closely with students at Harvard to develop their leadership skills and provide some with scholarships to promote their leadership studies. He also has served on the board of several non-profit organizations including Teach for America, Schwab Foundation, the Aspen Institute, and City Year.

HWS Chaplain Lesley Adams will deliver this year’s Baccalaureate Address. Adams, a valued campus leader, has dedicated herself to expanding the Office of Religious Life, as well as the emphasis of inclusion on campus. Since coming to the HWS in 1995, Adams has led the Colleges’ commitment to interdenominational faith. She has welcomed students to weekly events like Pasta Night and Campus Peer Ministry, and has educated students on issues of sustainability, self-reliance and civic engagement. Adams will be retiring from the Colleges at the end of this school year after completing 20 years of service to HWS.

The HWS Baccalaureate ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. in Trinity Church. The 2015 Hobart and William Smith Commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. the following morning on the Hobart Quad, where both speakers will receive honorary degrees from the Colleges. If you have the opportunity to stay on campus for the weekend, you can look forward to hearing both of these exciting addresses!

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