Edelman to Speak At HMS Class Day

Marian Wright Edelman, the founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, will be the Class Day speaker for the Harvard Medical School this year.

Edelman, who spoke at the College's Class Day last year, was chosen by the Medical School's graduating class.

The defense fund, which Edelman started in 1973, lobbies and gathers information to "educate the nation" about the needs of poor and underprivileged children, according to a release by the fund.

Edelman was popular among Med School students because she reflects their own professional values, said Rebecca Baron, student co-coordinator for Class Day.

"She represents a value that a lot of Medical School students find important in terms of public service to the community, especially in today's society," Baron said. "She represents patient care and community service."

Edelman is the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi bar. She has been involved in social activism in Washington since the late 1960's, when she worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Edelman has many friends in the Clinton administration, and Hillary Rodham Clinton has served as board member for the defense fund.

In the early 1970s, Edelman served as director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard.

Baron said the graduating class initially held a meeting to nominate possible Class Day speakers. According to Baron, suggested speakers included former Surgeon General C. Everett Coop as well as the President and Mrs. Clinton.