Madeleine Albright to Speak at Commencement

Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright. Photo credit: Timothy Greenfield Sanders

Dickinson Announces 2014 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will deliver the Commencement address on Sunday, May 18, at 10 a.m. in front of historic Old West on the John Dickinson Campus. She also will receive a doctor of international relations honorary degree. 

Albright is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global-strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. In 1997, she was named the first female secretary of state and became at that time the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. She reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor and environmental standards abroad. 

From 1993 to 1997, Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. From 1989 to 1992, she served as president of the Center for National Policy. Previously, she was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff and served as chief legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Edmund S. Muskie.  

Albright is a distinguished professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. She serves on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the secretary of defense with independent, informed advice and opinion. In 2012, Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama.

Albright is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: her 2003 autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir; The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs; Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership; Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box; and Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948.

Other Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degrees also will be conferred on world-renowned violinist David Kim and entrepreneur and philanthropist H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest.

Kim is concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra, where he holds the Dr. Benjamin Rush Chair, named in honor of Dickinson’s founder. He has held the position since 1999. Highlights of his 2013-14 season include a return as concertmaster of the All-Star Orchestra in New York City and on PBS stations across the U.S., a residency at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a return to L’Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne in France, and recitals and solo appearances across the U.S. and Korea.

As a highly sought-after pedagogue, Kim presents master classes at schools and institutions throughout the U.S. and abroad. He performed at Dickinson on two occasions in front of standing-room-only crowds: in 2011 to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated Rubendall Recital Hall and in 2013 as an artist-in-residence. 

From a young age, Kim studied under famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. He is the founder of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival at the University of Rhode Island and served as its artistic director for 20 years. In conjunction with the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Kim founded an annual outreach program that took him to elementary schools, performing and speaking about classical music in an effort to cultivate future audiences. He continues to devote a portion of his schedule each year to bringing classical music to children. Kim will receive a doctor of arts honorary degree.

Lenfest, who founded and owned the Philadelphia region’s largest cable operator, Suburban Cable TV, part of Lenfest Communications, until its sale to Comcast Communications in 2000, is part owner of Interstate General Media, which publishes The Philadelphia Inquirer. He will receive a doctor of philanthropy honorary degree. 

Lenfest made his fortune as a media mogul and made a career out of generous philanthropic commitments to disadvantaged youth, the arts, higher education and the environment. In 2000, he and his wife Marguerite established The Lenfest Foundation, an independent, board-directed, private foundation with a market value of approximately $100 million. Its priorities are scholarships for college-bound students from Pennsylvania’s rural regions as well as career and technical education, early childhood education and out-of-school-time programs for disadvantaged youth, primarily in Philadelphia. 

Through their foundation and private donations, the Lenfests have already given more than $1 billion to charitable causes and have committed to distributing even more by spending down the foundation and its affiliated programs, including the Lenfest Oceans Program, which funds marine research and advocacy. 

Lenfest chairs the boards of the American Revolution Museum and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress and previously chaired the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Curtis Institute of Music. He is a graduate of Mercersburg Academy, where he served as president of the board; Washington and Lee University; and Columbia Law School and has served on the board of trustees of Columbia University. 

Published Feb. 26, 2014