Williams Announces Commencement Speakers

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WILLIAMSTOWN - A star, a secretary and a sculptor will speak at Williams College's 219th Commencement on Sunday, June 1.

The main speaker at the afternoon's commencement ceremoney will be Richard Serra, known for his massive steel sculpures. Some weigh hundreds of tons, and viewers can literally walk through the canyons formed by the curved metal slabs. Space, and especially the display site, is crucial to Serra's work.

Perhaps the best known of the speakers - at least to this generation of Williams graduates - is LeVar Burton. The actor, director and author has appeared on some legendary television series - as Kunta Kinte in the ground-breaking mini-series "Roots" in 1977; as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and as the host of the Emmy-winning PBS series "Reading Rainbow."

Burton, the baccalaureate speaker, will address students on Saturday afternoon, May 31. That morning, George P. Schultz, a former U.S. secretary of labor, treasury and state, will deliver the invited lecture.

Schultz, of Cummington, was labor secretary and then treasury secretary under President Nixon; he served as secretary of state under President Reagan from 1982 to 1989. After leaving office, he rejoined Stanford University as the Jack Steele Parker Professor of International Economics at the Graduate School of Business and a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution.

During the commencement ceremonies on June 1, President Morton Owen Schapiro will confer honorary degrees on Serra, Burton, Shultz, British economist Frances Cairncross, financial director and adviser Robert Lipp, and women's health advocate Dr. Nawal Nour.

Lipp retires this year from the Williams board of trustees, on which he has served since 1999. He is chairman of the Executive Committee and serves on the board's Alumni Relations and Development, Audit, Budget and Financial Planning, and Instruction and Finance committees. He plays a major role in The Williams Campaign and serves as one of five campaign co-chairmen. He has served J.P. Morgan Chase as a senior advisor since 2005.

Cairncross is rector of Exeter College, Oxford, with which Williams operates the Williams-Exeter Program. She received her degree in modern history from St. Anne's College, Oxford, and later completed a master's degree in economics at Brown University.

Nour is the founder of the first and, to date, only hospital center in the United States devoted to the medical needs of African women who have undergone female genital cutting. A secular Muslim, she was born in Sudan, raised in Egypt, and educated in Britain and the United States. She received a degree from Brown University and medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

In addition to the formal academic procession and the awarding of degrees, commencement includes recognition of the National Olmsted Prizes for Secondary School Teaching recipients, announcement of the William Bradford Turner Citizenship Prize, brief speeches by three members of the senior class, and the commencement address.

Every effort will be made to hold the ceremony outdoors on West College Lawn and the public is invited. In case of heavy rain or threat of lightning, the ceremony will be moved to Lansing-Chapman Hockey Rink. If moved indoors, admission is by ticket only. Additional seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in Chandler Gymnasium, where the ceremony will be broadcast on a large screen. Tickets are not required for seating in Chandler.

More information is available on the Williams Web site.
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Driver Fell Asleep Before Running Into Williamstown Porch

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Vermont woman was asleep at the wheel prior to crashing into a Simonds Road residence last week, according to a Williamstown Police Department report.
 
Nicole L. Bishop, 32, of Route 9 in Bennington, Vt., Wednesday afternoon was traveling north on Simonds Road (U.S. Route 7) when, "the operator fell asleep, crossed the marked double line, through [two] yards, and into the front porch of 1033 Simonds Road," according to a report written by Officer Brad Sacco.
 
The 2003 Toyota that Bishop was driving belonged to Angela Mattison Barr of Bennington, police said.
 
The car left the road just north of the turnoff for the Steinerfilm property and crossed through the front yards of two other properties before crashing into the front porch at 1033 Simonds Road, Sacco wrote.
 
Neither Bishop nor a passenger in the car, Dennis Young, 53, of Bennington, was transported from the scene by ambulance, according to a representative of Northern Berkshire EMS, which responded to the incident.
 
Likewise, no one living at the residence was reported to be injured.
 
According to the town's tax records, the home is owned by Jean M. Beliveau and Thomas E. Rand.
 
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