Commencement speakers announced
As the Class of 2004 prepares to depart AU, students will hear from a top CNN journalist, a member of the 9/11 Commission and an Israeli scholar during commencement ceremonies on May 9.
Judy Woodruff, an anchor and senior correspondent for CNN, will be speaking at 9 a.m. to the School of Communication and Kogod School of Business ceremony.
At 1 p.m., the College of Arts and Sciences will hear from David Hartman, director of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
Wrapping up the ceremonies on May 9 will be Lee Hamilton, vice chair of the 9/11 Commission and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, as he addresses the School of Public Affairs and School of International Service at 4:30 p.m.
Commencement services will continue for the Washington College of Law when Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute, will speak at 1 p.m. on May 23.
Woodruff and Hartman will each receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters during commencement. Neier will receive an honorary doctorate of laws. Hamilton had received an honorary degree from AU in 1991.
EJ Stern, president of the Class of 2004, said she is happy with the speakers, especially Woodruff, whom the class originally suggested as a speaker.
"I am really excited about graduation," Stern said. "Woodruff is such a fantastic speaker. I'm excited to hear the wisdom she would impart on the Class of 2004."
Woodruff is known for her CNN show, "Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics," the nation's first program devoted exclusively to politics. She has worked on every national political convention and presidential campaign since 1976 and moderated the 1988 vice presidential debate.
She received a bachelor's degree from Duke University and went on to serve as a White House correspondent for NBC Nightly News during the Carter and Reagan administrations. In addition to being a founding co-chair of the International Women's Media Foundation, she serves on the board of trustees of the Freedom Forum, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Urban Institute.
Hartman was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., before immigrating with his family to Israel in 1971. After his service as a rabbi in Montreal, he formed the Shalom Hartman Institute, which is named after his father. Hartman, an ordained rabbi, endeavors to foster greater understanding among Jews of diverse affiliations.
Hartman was ordained by the Yeshiva University in New York and received his Ph.D in philosophy from McGill University in Montreal. He has written many books including, most recently, "Moreshet B'Makhloket," a translation of his book "Israelis and the Jewish Tradition."
Although Woodruff may be the most well-known of the speakers, Hamilton has recently received national attention as the vice chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission. During Hamilton's career, he served as chairman of the House Committee on International Relations while serving for 34 years as a congressman from Indiana. He also served in a number of government commissions and committees in addition to being named director of the Wilson Center in January 1999.
According to the Wilson Center's Web site, it is a "pre-eminent intellectual haven where scholars, policymakers, and business leaders engage in a comprehensive and non-partisan dialogue on public policy issues, their deep historical backgrounds, and their effect on national and international thought and governance."
Originally from Daytona Beach, Fla., Hamilton moved to Tennessee, and eventually to Evansville, Ind. He earned his bachelor's degree from Depauw University in 1952 and studied for a year at Goethe University in Germany.
Neier, the founder and former executive director of Human Rights Watch, became the president of the Open Society Institute in 1993. He previous-
ly served as national director of the American Civil Liberties Union for eight years and in the organization for a total of 15 years.
Born in Nazi Germany, Neier became a refugee at a young age. He is an internationally recognized expert on human rights and has investigated abuses of human rights in more than 40 countries.
According to the Open Society Institute Web site, it is "a private operating and grantmaking foundation based in New York City that serves as the hub of the Soros foundations network, a group of autonomous foundations and organizations in more than 50 countries." It was founded by investor and philanthropist George Soros in 1993 and Neier joined the organization as president in September.