Harvard received yesterday the text of a speech from Polish labor leader Lech Walesa, and President Bok will read excerpts from it at this afternoon's Commencement ceremonies.
The speech, which is 12 double-spaced pages long discusses the "political climate in Poland, and the history of the Solidarity movement." Harvard spokesman David Rosen said last night. He added that it "voices optimism" despite the fact that Walesa's organization Solidarity, has been outlawed.
Harvard originally announced early in April that the Gdansk electrician had accepted an invitation to deliver the Commencement address in person, but later reports indicated that he would not leave Poland. After giving up on that possibility and selecting another Commencement speaker. Mexican poet Carlos Funnies, officials floated the possibility that Walesa would mail the speech, and that someone else would deliver it.
Aside from the unusual aspect of hearing a speech in absentia, the ceremonies today should proceed traditionally.
Nine hundred and seventy-seven men and 518 women will bid farewell to undergraduate life today under sunny skies as Harvard's 322nd commencement exercises.
About 25,000 will attend the Tercentary Theatre ceremonies, which will be marked by student protests against Harvard's South African investments and in support of the Local 26 food service workers, who are currently negotiating a new contract with the University.
A coalition of progressive student groups including members of the Southern Africa Solidarity of America and the Harvard African Students Association (HASA), will distribute about 300 balloons and 7000 pamphlets urging students, parents, and alumni to oppose Harvard's financial ties to the apartheid state of South Africa.
The Commencement protest caps off a year of active student opposition to the University's investment policies. Students have conducted marches and rallies this semester and, in late March, 13 students and one faculty member staged a week long fast, intended to force the University into selling all its South Africa-related stock.
Organizers of the labor-oriented protest said that about 300 seniors will wear armbands and pins in support of the Harvard food service workers. In addition, protesters will hand out about 7000 copies of an "Unofficial Commencement Calendar" which calls for solidarity with the union, whose contract expires this summer.
This is the third consecutive year students have used the traditional ceremony to air political grievances. Last year, almost half the graduating senior class wore white armbands to protest the nuclear weapons race while two years ago seniors opposed U.S. involvement in El Salvador and a string of murders of Black children in Atlanta.
The National Weather Service has forecasted bright sunshine and temperatures of around 70 degrees for the Boston area throughout the day--
Workers have installed 20,000 chairs in the Tercentenary Theater, Frederick B. Jackson, superintendent of facilities in the Department of Buildings and Grounds, said yesterday, adding that another 1700 seats and 170 tables are used for the alumni spreads in the Old Yard.
Jackson, who has been helping direct Commencements since 1947, said that his "Com- mencement Task Force" began work as early as January and has been meeting weekly since March.
For the afternoon portion of the graduation exercises. President Bok and Commencement speaker Carlos Fuentes (see story and excerpts from the speech, page 14) a Mexican author and diplomat, will address the just graduated seniors, returning to the Yard for the Harvard Alumni Association Annual Meeting.
The afternoon program will be proceeded by the traditional alumni parade. The procession, which is traditionally led by the oldest living alumni present, may be headed by George I. Cohen '08, though it is still not known whether he will be able to march, Harvard alumni officials said yesterday. If Cohen does not march, there are three members of the Class of '10 who may take his place, officials added.
The oldest Radcliffe alumnae, Mary R. McCarthy '12, will not be able to march today because she has sciatica, Lydia Lake, coordinator of Radcliffe reunions, said yesterday."
This morning, six honorary degrees will be awarded, including ones to Fuentes, Washington Post Publisher Katharine M. Graham, and art historian Meyer Schapiro, (see special report, page 11) The list of honor ands is usually kept secret up until the actual presentation.
Also at the morning exercises, during which presentation graduates of the College and Harvard's II graduate schools are awarded their degrees, three students will deliver speeches the Latin Salutatory Dissertation, and the Senior and Graduate English Addresses.
Director of Expository Writing Richard C. Marius, who reviewed all three searches, termed them "a very good batch," adding that he had read their speeches so many times that "if they forget their lines I'll just hop on up and say them."
Christopher Martin Lohse '81, who will deliver the graduate English address, said yesterday that his speech will discuss the differences between life as an undergraduate and at the Extension School, where he is currently enrolled.
Officials said that Lohse's speech marks the first time that an extension student will deliver the traditional graduate address.
Lohse, whose speech is called "10,000 Ghosts of Harvard," said that he is suing the Extention School for not giving him credit for certain courses he took there. He added, "I guess it's pretty open minded of them to let me speak then."
Elizabeth H. Kirkland '83, who will deliver the Latin oration, said yesterday she will discuss the passing of time at Harvard. "The idea is that we came here and time flew by--tempus fugit as it were--and we all came back together again at graduation."
Kirkland will appear on tomorrow morning's edition of NBC's "Today" show, which will be broadcast from Quincy Market in downtown Boston.
Gene Shalit, one of the show's anchormen, said yesterday that he will also interview Hamilton Fish '10 on the show, which is being broadcast from Boston to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the city's local affiliate WBZ-TV.
Shalit added that the show will include segments of yesterday's Class Day ceremonies as well as an "amusing intro" look at Harvard's past, including material on the college days of past U.S. presidents Franklin '04 and Theodore Roosevelt (Class of 1880). The senior English Address, which Marius described as "very serious," will be given by Jon Kenton '83. The University will also award the following degrees:
* 352 in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
* 12 in the School of Dental Medicine. The small number is due to the switch from a four-year to a five-year program.
* 105 in the School of Design.
* 93 in the Divinity School.
* 392 in the School of Education.
* 84 in the Extention School.
* 348 in the Kennedy School of Government.
* 889 in the Law School.
* 163 in the Medical School.
* 210 in the School of Public Health