WASHINGTON--Raisa Gorbachev will join Barbara Bush in addressing the graduating class at Wellesley College, the White House announced yesterday.
"Mrs. Raisa Gorbachev has accepted Mrs. Bush's invitation to accompany her to Wellesley" on June 1 during their husbands' summit meetings in Washington, the first lady's press office said. "Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Gorbachev will both deliver remarks to the graduating class."
Anna Perez, Mrs. Bush's press secretary, said no other joint appearances had yet been planned by the first ladies.
Some 150 students at Wellesley signed a petition last month questioning the choice of Mrs. Bush as a commencement speaker, saying her prominence was based solely on her marriage. Mrs. Bush dropped out of Smith College after her first year to marry Bush, then a Navy pilot, in 1944.
The Gorbachevs are arriving in Washington on May 30, with the two presidents holding summit meetings over the following four days at the White House and Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland.
Mrs. Bush, who turns 65 on June 8, has been a career homemaker and mother of six who moved dozens of times with her husband during his far-flung careers in the oil business, politics and diplomacy. She has gained recognition in recent years for promoting literacy and other causes, including the care of babies with AIDS.
Mrs. Gorbachev, who holds a doctorate degree, met her husband in graduate school and formerly taught at a Soviet university.