2013 graduation speakers include sitting U.S. senator, Lithuanian head of state

Giving credit where it's dueIn characteristically late fashion, the University announced today who will be giving Georgetown’s 2013 commencement addresses. Each school has a separate speaker and the list includes several scholars, journalists, high-ranking government officials, and a sitting head of state.

The School of Foreign Service’s commencement speaker will be President Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania. She was inaugurated as the first female president of the Balkan Baltic state in 2009. She’s known as the “Iron Lady” (of Lithuania) and is credited with pulling the country out of its economic crisis after 2008, doing so without taking financial aid from the International Monetary Fund. “I never really had this goal—to become president,” she said. “I saw Lithuania sliding deeply into crisis, and I wanted to help the government get our country out of those troubles.” She also holds a black belt in karate.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies gets Dr. Lisa Simpson (not to be confused with the Simpson’s television character), the president and CEO of AcademyHealth, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research institution dedicated to advancing the field of health services research. According to her bio page, “Dr. Simpson has worked to raise the visibility of the field of health services research and its contributions to improving the quality, value and accessibility of care, reducing disparities, and improving health.” (All Vox got from that was that she likes health.)

The commencement speaker for the McDonough School of Business will be Senator William Cowan, Democrat from Massachusetts. He was appointed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to fill the seat that John Kerry vacated when he became secretary of state. A prominent lawyer in Massachusetts, he served as Patrick’s chief legal counsel for two years from January 2011 to November 2012.

Finally, Georgetown College’s speaker will be Lisa Shannon, the founder of Run for Congo Women and the Thousand Sisters Campaign. According to her bio page, she was the “first national grassroots activist in the United States working to raise awareness of the forgotten humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Run for Congo Women has sponsored over 1,400 war-affected women from the Congo and raised over $12 million.

Needless to say, this year’s crop of graduation speakers is bound to be less controversial than last year’s affair.

See the rest of the commencement speakers after the jump.

Actress and writer Brit Marling (COL’ 05) will speak at the Senior Convocation.

Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr. is the lead speaker at the Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony.

Harvard University professor and 2007 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Eric Maskin will be the commencement speaker at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ceremony.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will speak at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute awards ceremony.

Ambassador of Brazil to the U.S. Mauro Vieira will speak at the MBA ceremonies for the McDonough School of Business.

President for Humanitarian Services at the American Red Cross Gerald M. “Jerry” DeFrancisco will speak at the ceremonies for the School of Continuing Studies.

A producer for CBS Evening News Erin Lyall (GRAD ’02) and U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman will speak at the award ceremonies for the Master of Science in Foreign Service program.

The chair of the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence in London Sir Michael Rawlins will speak at the Medical School’s graduation ceremonies. Retired executive vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer of MedStar Health Dr. William Thomas will receive an honorary degree but will not have a speaking role.

Last is Fox News’s commentator Greta Van Susteren (LAW ’79), who will be speaking at Georgetown Law’s graduation exercises. Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus (LAW ’01) will receive an honorary degree but will not have a speaking role.

(Former) Editor’s Note: Balkan ≠ Baltic

Photo: John Flanagan/Georgetown Voice

11 Comments on “2013 graduation speakers include sitting U.S. senator, Lithuanian head of state

  1. I’m sorry, people, but are you being taught at the School of Foreign Service’s, if you think Lithuania is a Balkan country. It’s a Baltic State. It’s a big difference! And very different parts of Europe!

  2. I know where Lithuania is, guise. In a sleep-deprived haze, I asked my SFS roommate to remind me what “dem countries up there were called again,” and either he said Baltic or I wrote Balkan anyway.

    Nonetheless, the error has been fixed.

  3. Georgetown has embarassing commencement speakers every year. Sad

  4. @ GW – False. Paul Farmer for the College in 2011 was excellent, as was David Simon last year (albeit a little depressing, similar to DFW’s famous commencement speech). The SFS in 2010 had the President of Liberia, which was really interesting, and who doesn’t love a little bit of Dikembe (College 2010) every once in awhile?

  5. @Alum in Arlington

    Paul Farmer would’ve been great … if he didn’t give a forty-minute speech on a ninety-degree day.

  6. So… Harvard gets Oprah; UVA; Tulane gets the Dalai Lama… We get a woman who went for a walk in the woods one time… #georgetownforever

  7. *Commencement Speakers Formula*

    COL: Some do-gooder for African women or orphans
    SFS: Head of state for a small, obscure country
    MSB: Someone to talk about the “social responsibility of business”
    NHS: Person who “works on reducing health disparities”

    All speakers should be B-list or worse. Preference to those who have already spoken at Georgetown in the recent past.

  8. @Fast on the Uptick

    How does a state qualify as an “obscure” country?

    “I’m from Lithuania, you probably haven’t ever heard of it.”

  9. @Alum in Arlington

    LOL. Paul Farmer. Classic.

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