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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

MIT Names Shirley Chisholm As Commencement Speaker

By John Rosenthal

Former U.S. Representative Shirley Chisholm will address graduating students at MIT's commencement this June, marking only the third time an outside speaker has given the ceremony's Leynote speech.

Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, accepted an invitation from the institute to speak last Tuesday.

Chisholm was known as a strong advocate of minority and women's rights during her seven terms in Congress. In 1972, she became the first Black woman to mount a bid for the presidency.

A MIT News Office spokesman said yesterday that he did not know what the subject of Chisholm's address would be.

MIT's commencement speech had been given by the president of the university until June of 1982, when Katharine M. Graham, publisber of the Washington Post, became the first outside speaker to deliver the address. Former Chancellor of West Germany Heimut Schmich spoke to the class of 1983.

Chisholm graduated from Brooklyn College and received a master of arts degree from Columbia University. In 1964, she was first elected to the New York State Assembly, where she served until 1968, when she was elected to Congress. Chisholm retired from Congress in 1982 and is now a political seience professor at Mount Holyoke College.

Harvard Alumni Association Director David A. Aloian '49 said that a speaker has not yet been named to deliver the address at Harvard's Commencement, which will be held on Thursday, June 7, Aloian refused to give an indication of who the Alumni Association might choose to speak.

MIT's commencement will be held on Monday, June 4.

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