Strobe Talbott, former deputy secretary of state and current president of the Brookings Institution, to deliver Fairfield University's 2003 commencement address


 

As graduating college students prepare to enter the workforce during a time of war, Fairfield University's Class of 2003 will hear words of advice from a seasoned diplomat and former journalist, who will deliver the University's 53rd commencement address on Sunday, May 18. The ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

Strobe TalbottStrobe Talbott was named president of the Brookings Institution, an independent public policy research organization, in July 2002. Before that he served as founding director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and was deputy secretary of state from 1994 to 2001. His tenure at the State Department also included time as ambassador-at-large and special adviser to the secretary of state for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union.

"At a time when our foreign policy is so much a part of American discussion and debate," said Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., president of Fairfield University, in making the announcement, "Mr. Talbott brings to the Fairfield campus a wealth of expertise as a scholar, writer, teacher and diplomat."

During the commencement ceremonies, Fairfield University will bestow honorary doctor of laws degrees on Mr. Talbott; Sister Mary Rose McGeady, D.C., president and chief executive officer of Covenant House; and Major (ret) Michael Donnelly, a Persian Gulf War fighter pilot who became an advocate for all Gulf War veterans with war-related illnesses. Grayce M. Sills, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., a leader in nursing and psychiatric mental health nursing for more than 40 years will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

Mr. Talbott's years of government service were preceded by a long career in the Fourth Estate. He spent 21 years as a journalist at Time magazine, which culminated in positions as Washington bureau chief, editor-at-large and foreign affairs columnist. As a reporter, he covered Eastern Europe, the State Department and the White House.

Mr. Talbott has also written for Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, International Security, The Economist, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Slate.

Among Mr. Talbott's many books are: "The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy" (Random House 2002), "At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War" with Michael Beschloss (Little Brown & Company 1993), "The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace" (Knopf 1988), "Reagan and Gorbachev" with Michael Mandelbaum (Vintage Books 1987), and "Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control" (Random House 1984).

Sister Mary Rose McGeadySister Mary Rose McGeady, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, has dedicated a lifetime of service to children. Beginning at Nazareth Child Care Center in Boston, where she worked with homeless and disturbed children and their families, Sister McGeady moved on to become executive director of the Astor Home and Clinic for Children in Rhinebeck, N.Y., a treatment center for disturbed children and youth. Sister McGeady went on to work for Brooklyn Catholic Charities and eventually became executive director of the Kennedy Child Study Center in New York City.

Sister McGeady holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Emmanuel College and a master's in clinical psychology from Fordham University. She has pursued doctoral studies at Fordham and the University of Massachusetts.

Sister McGeady was appointed president and CEO of Covenant House by the board of directors in September 1990. Since then, services have been constantly expanded with the organization serving 61,000 children in 2000. The program has been enriched by the addition of job training and placement for older adolescents and an apartment program, which helps them to become re-established in the community. Every site also has a Community Service Center, which seeks to serve children at risk, to prevent runaways and help families survive. Based in New York City, Covenant House has 2,200 employees and 1,800 volunteers. Since its inception, the organization has served nearly 2 million children.

Michael DonnellyMajor (ret) Michael Donnelly was a Persian Gulf War fighter pilot who developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and became an advocate for all Gulf War veterans with war-related illnesses. A 1981 graduate of Fairfield University, Maj. Donnelly had completed 44 combat missions over Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and was awarded four Air Medals before being diagnosed at the age of 36 with ALS.

While battling his own disease, Major Donnelly became a champion for other Persian Gulf War veterans suffering from ALS, cancer and other illnesses. In 1998, he published "Falcon's Cry," which in addition to his wartime memoirs told the story of the tens of thousands of Gulf War veterans with war-related illnesses. Now unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair, Major Donnelly's only means of communication is by blinking his eyes.

In December 2001, Anthony Principi, Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, announced that a recently released VA study revealed that Persian Gulf War veterans are more than twice as likely as other veterans to develop ALS and acknowledged Major Donnelly's efforts in this cause. He also announced that the VA would grant full benefits to all Gulf War veterans diagnosed with ALS.

Grayce M. SillsGrayce M. Sills, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., has been a leader in nursing and psychiatric mental health nursing for more than 40 years. A professor emeritus at The Ohio State University College of Nursing and an international consultant for community-based mental health nursing, Dr. Sills has been a visiting professor this year at Fairfield University's School of Nursing.

A past president of the American Nurses Association, she serves as an editor of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and chairs The Ohio State University Hospitals Board. An internationally acclaimed scholar and past president of the American Nurses Foundation, Dr. Sills was named a "Living Legend" by the Governing Council of the American Academy of nursing in 1999. In June 2000, she received the Hildegard Peplau Award from the American Nurses Association for her contribution to psychiatric nursing.

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

Posted on April 22, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 266