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Letter from President Bennet

Reunion & Commencement Weekend brings people together from across the Wesleyan community—including the senior class and their families, faculty members, and alumni. Each year, it provides a unique opportunity to renew old friendships and to make new ones while we celebrate the work of our faculty and students as well as the richness of our campus culture. I hope you will join us for Reunion & Commencement 2003 and share with us the spirit and the bonds that transcend class years.

Douglas J. Bennet ’59 P ’87, P ’94



A Noble Peace Prize Winner, a noted civil rights activist, a world-renowned philanthropist, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet will be honored at Wesleyan University’s 171st commencement ceremonies this year.

Jody Williams, founder of International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize will give the commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters. Under Williams, the ICBL grew from a single office to having representatives in 85 nations and established formal liaisons with the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

During the ceremonies civil rights activist Theodore Shaw will receive the Baldwin Medal, which is the highest alumni honor bestowed by Wesleyan.  Shaw, a 1976 graduate of Wesleyan and a member of the university’s board of trustees, is the associate director and counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc. He has helped lead the current national discussion in legal and public arenas on the issue of affirmative action in higher education, and  recently filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the affirmative action case currently being considered by the court.

The Baldwin Medal pays tribute to the late Judge Raymond E. Baldwin of Wesleyan's Class of 1916. Baldwin was the only man to have held the offices of Connecticut governor, U.S. senator and chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Wesleyan also will award honorary doctorates in humane letters to Doreen Freeman and in arts to Yusef Komunyakaa.

Freeman is a co-administrator of the Freeman Foundation, a non-profit organization with a long history of increasing, strengthening, and popularizing Asian Studies programs in the United States. The Freeman Foundation funds Wesleyan’s Freeman Asian Scholar Program, which provides full four-year scholarships to 22 students per class from 11 Asian nations.

Komunyakaa, who won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his collection Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems, and was a National Book Critics Award finalist for Thieves of Paradise. He also was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam and is currently a professor in the Council of the Humanities and Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

The commencement ceremonies will be held on Wesleyan’s campus in Middletown, on Sunday, May 25, at 11 a.m.


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