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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Katie Couric To Deliver Williams College Commencement Address

12:00AM / Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric is Williams College 218th Commencement speaker.
Williamstown - Williams College will celebrate its 218th Commencement on June 2-3.

News anchor Katie Couric will deliver the college's Commencement address on Sunday, June 3.

Sri Lanka Supreme Court Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane will deliver the Baccalaureate address on Saturday, June 2.

Katie Couric

Couric is anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. She is also a 60 Minutes correspondent and the anchor of CBS News primetime specials. The first woman to anchor solely a network evening newscast, Couric is considered among the most popular television personalities of the time.

She joined CBS News in 1989 as deputy Pentagon reporter and was appointed the network's first national correspondent in June 1990. A year later she became an anchor of the Today Show, for which she continued to work until moving to CBS in 2006. Couric is the third permanent anchor of the CBS Evening News; Walter Cronkite held the post from 1962 to 1981 and Dan Rather from 1981 to 2005.

Couric has covered most of the major breaking news events during the past 15 years, including the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Columbine tragedy, the funeral of Princess Diana, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the end of the millennium. She has also worked on news specials that became memorable in the history of CBS and has become particularly famous for her interviews with major newsmakers in politics, business, and culture.

Following the death of her husband to colon cancer in 1998, she co-founded a non-profit organization for cancer research and education and became the most prominent spokeswoman for gastrointestinal cancer awareness. Following Ms. Couric's on-air colonoscopy in 2000, a scientifically documented 20 percent increase was noted in the number of colonoscopies performed across the country. Researchers dubbed this "The Couric Effect." She has helped raise almost $27 million to date to fight colorectal and other GI cancers.

Couric is the recipient of major prizes in appreciation of her efforts to encourage and generate funds for public health, as well as her professionalism in the news business. She has won six Emmy Awards, an Associated Press Award, the National Headliner Award, and the American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Award, among many others.

Born in Arlington, Va., Ms. Couric graduated with honors from the University of Virginia with a bachelor's degree in English and a focus on American studies.

Shiranee Tilakawardane

A Supreme Court judge in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Shiranee Tilakawardane is known as a “peace-builder.” “The globalization of the law creates a language of peace,” she said. “… a charter of human rights that guarantees to all the freedoms of speech and equality. I believe that if we talk this language of global equality, we will have justice.”


Shiranee Tilakawardane
Justice Tilakawardane was the first woman court of appeal judge, president of the court of appeal, high court judge, admiralty court judge, and state counsel to the attorney general’s department in Sri Lanka.

Her dedicated efforts in the fields of equality and justice, gender education, and child rights in Sri Lanka and the international community have earned her international renown.

She drafted the guidelines for child victim and child witness testimony submitted to the UN for adoption in the International Criminal Court, in addition to many other writings and presentations on child abuse and child witnesses for organizations including the International Bureau of Child Rights and the Child Protection Authority.

She is a member of the advisory board of the South Asian Regional Program on Equity to reduce trafficking and violence against women in South Asia, and an advisory committee member and international panelist for human rights and equality on the Asia Pacific Forum for Judges. She was a member of a distinguished Harvard panel in 2004 to explore women's roles in peace, addressing the question, “Can Women Stop War?”

She has been active in Sakshi of India's gender workshops for judges and the Asia Pacific Forum for Gender Education for Judges, and serves on the International Panel of Judges for the Child Rights Bureau.


Tilakawardane’s son, Suranjit, is a senior at Williams College.



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