This year’s commencement speakers will include women’s rights activist Lisa Shannon, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite (GRD ’92), U.S. Senator William Cowan (D-Mass.) and AcademyHealthPresident and CEO Lisa Simpson, the university announced Thursday.
Shannon is slated to speak at the Georgetown College Commencement Ceremony. In 2006, Shannon founded the Run for Congo Women campaign, which raises funds for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. By 2010, Run for Congo Women had raised over $12 million and sponsored over 1,400 Congolese women. In 2010, Shannon then founded A Thousand Sisters, which works to inspire everyday people to work against violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other war-affected areas. Most recently, she founded Sister Somalia in July 2011, the first rape hotline and support program in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Grybauskaite, who took office in July 2009, will speak at the graduation exercises for the School of Foreign Service. After winning her election by 68 percent of the vote, Grybauskaite became Lithuania’s first female president, and has gained international acclaim for her focus on domestic issues in the country such as poverty and Lithuania’s financial problems.
Cowan will address seniors graduating from the McDonough School of Business. Cowan was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to fill U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s vacant senate seat in January 2013, marking the first time the U.S. Senate had more than one African-American member at a time.
The School of Nursing & Health Studies Commencement Ceremony will feature Simpson. ThroughAcademyHealth, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing health services research and policy, Simpson has improved the field of health services by increasing visibility.
On the graduate level, Harvard University economics professor Eric Maskin will speak at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ceremony, and Brazilian Ambassador to the U.S. Mauro L. I. Vieira will speak at the MBA program ceremony. Humanitarian Services for the American Red Cross President Gerald DeFrancisco will speak at the School of Continuing Studies ceremony, while National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence in London Chair Michael Rawlins will speak at the commencement exercises of the School of Medicine.
In addition, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will speak at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute Awards Ceremony, and CBS Evening News Producer Erin Lyall (GRD ’02) will address graduates of the Master of Science in Foreign Service program.
Lt. Gen. David Huntoon Jr. will speak at the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Commissioning Ceremony, while Fox News commentator Greta Van Susteren (LAW ’79, LAW ’82) will speak at the commencement exercises of the Georgetown Law Center.
Maskin, Vieria, Shannon, Simpson, Grybauskaite and Cowan will also receive honorary degrees in their respective fields.
Additionally, William Thomas, former MedStar Health executive vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science, and Washington Post reporter WalterPincus (LAW ’01) will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. Thomas and Pincus, however, will not speak during the commencement ceremonies.