ABC News' Cokie Roberts to receive honorary degree and give Fairfield University's 54th Commencement Address


Three other honorary degree recipients announced

Cokie RobertsABC News' award-winning political commentator Cokie Roberts will be the speaker and receive an honorary degree at Fairfield University's 54th commencement on Sunday, May 23. The veteran newswoman has covered Congress, politics and public policy for ABC for 15 years. She also serves as senior news analyst for National Public Radio. From 1996 to 2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week.

Other honorary degree recipients are Reverend Mother Dolores Hart, Prioress, O.S.B., at Pax Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn.; United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Guido Calabresi of Woodbridge, Conn.; and James F. Hanrahan of Oakdale, Conn., founder, chancellor and headmaster emeritus of Saint Thomas More School.

In more than 30 years in broadcasting, Cokie Roberts has won countless awards, including two Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting.

Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country. They are also contributing editors to USA Magazine and together wrote From this Day Forward, an account of their more than 35-year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto The New York Times bestseller list, following a six-month run on the list by Cokie Roberts' other book, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. The number one bestseller is an account of women's roles and relationships throughout American history. Roberts is now working on another book, Founding Mothers, the stories of the women who raised this nation.

Cokie Roberts serves on the boards of several non-profit institutions and this year was appointed to the newly formed President's Commission on Service and Civic Participation.

She and her husband have two children and four grandchildren.

Mother Dolores HartMother Dolores Hart, a cloistered Benedictine nun, was a well-known and successful actress of film, stage and television when she left her career to join the Regina Laudis Community in 1963. She is often cited as starring opposite Elvis Presley in "Loving You" (1957) and "King Creole" (1958), but she also worked with such Hollywood giants as Anthony Quinn and Anna Magnani in "Wild is the Wind" (1957) and Montgomery Clift and Myrna Loy in "Lonelyhearts," (1958). On Broadway she starred opposite George Peppard in "The Pleasure of His company," for which she received a Tony nomination. Her television work included "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Playhouse 90" and "The Virginian."

She had top billing in "Where the Boys Are," (1960); played St. Clare in "Francis of Assissi," (1961) and had completed "Come Fly with Me," with Hugh O'Brian, Lois Nettleton and Karl Malden in 1963 when she left Hollywood and entered the Benedictine order. In a recent interview she said she did not consider her decision to join the Abbey a "walking away from Hollywood" but more "walking into something more significant and by that, I took Hollywood with me. I really loved my work and the people I worked with." She remains a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

One of 40 women of diverse personal and professional backgrounds at the Abbey, Rev. Mother has worked in most areas, including the farm and carpentry. She is an artistic director of The Gary-The Olivia Theater built on the Abbey grounds in 1983 and sings in the abbey choir which released its third CD last summer. The community observes the Divine Office, beginning with the Matins at 1:50 a.m., and continuing seven times throughout the day.

Judge Guido CalabresiBefore Judge Guido Calabresi was appointed United States Circuit Judge in July, 1994, he was the Dean and Sterling Professor at the Yale Law School where he began teaching in 1959. He continues to serve as a member of that faculty as Sterling Professor Emeritus and Professional Lecturer.

Born in Milan, Italy, Judge Calabresi immigrated to the United States for political reasons in 1939. He and his parents became naturalized citizens in 1948. In a stellar academic career, he would go on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude, from Yale College in 1953, a Bachelor of Arts degree with First Class Honors from Magdalen College, Oxford University, in 1955, an LL.B. degree, magna cum laude, in 1958 from Yale law School, and a master's degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University in 1959.

A Rhodes Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif, Judge Calabresi served as Note Editor of the Yale Law Journal while graduating first in his law school class.

Following graduation, Judge Calabresi clerked for Justice Hugo Black of the United States Supreme Court. He is the author of four books, including Ideals, Beliefs, Attitudes and the Law: Private Law Perspectives on a Public Law Problem, which received the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award; and A Common Law for the Age of Statutes, awarded the Triennial Book Award, Order of the Coif; and over ninety articles on law and related subjects. He is a member of the Connecticut bar.

He and his wife, the former Anne Gordon Audubon Tyler, have three children.

James F. HanrahanJames F. Hanrahan was the coach of the Fairfield University men's basketball team and a teacher of mathematics at Fairfield College Preparatory School when he left in 1952 to establish Saint Thomas More School, a college preparatory boarding school in Oakdale, Conn., that serves 200 young men. The school strives to motivate and challenge students who have good intellectual ability but who have not had the academic success of which they are capable. The highly structured environment helps to educate the whole person intellectually, physically, morally and socially. As a result, just about all of its graduates attend college, including, among others, Fairfield University, Boston College, Duke, Fordham, Harvard, Brown, the Coast Guard Academy, and the University of Connecticut.

A native of Waterbury, Conn., James Hanrahan attended Saint Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn., and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Md. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1947 and received a Master of Arts degree from Fairfield University in 1953. He was headmaster at the school he founded for 37 years. His son, James F. Hanrahan Jr., followed him as headmaster.

James and his wife, the former Patricia Sweeney, have 13 children, six of whom graduated from Fairfield University.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 8, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 251