Salem State announces 2011 commencement speakers

Deval Patrick

Salem State today announced the selection of the governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the executive producer of public television’s premier public affairs series, FRONTLINE, and the president of the charitable Wal-Mart Foundation as its 2011 commencement speakers.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, currently serving his second term, will address students, faculty and guests at the university’s School of Graduate Studies commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at 4 pm.A graduate of Harvard College and its law school, Patrick was the first in his family to attend college. His distinguished career has included work as a staff attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, appointment by former President William Clinton to the nation’s top civil rights post and key positions at Texaco and Coca-Cola. Patrick was elected to his first term as Massachusetts’ governor in 2006.

Salem State’s undergraduate commencement exercises for full-time students and those graduating from its School of Continuing and Professional Studies, which will consist of a morning ceremony and an afternoon ceremony, will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education will receive their diplomas at 10 am. Graduates of the College of Health and Human Services and the Bertolon School of Business will receive theirs at the 3 pm exercises.

Salem State University’s three commencement ceremonies are ticketed events and are not open to the general public.

Margaret McKenna, president of The Wal-Mart Foundation, will be the featured speaker at the morning exercises. David Fanning, executive producer of the multi award-winning public television series, FRONTLINE, will address those graduating in the afternoon.

Prior to leading Wal-Mart’s charitable foundation, McKenna served as president of Lesley University for 22 years and led the transformation of the institution from a small college with 2,000 students to a 12,000-student university with a national presence. Prior to that, she served as vice president of Radcliffe College, deputy counsel in the White House and as a civil rights lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Fanning, who has served as FRONTLINE’s executive producer since its inception in 1983, was recently awarded the 2010 Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism. The longest-running investigative documentary series on American television, FRONTLINE—under Fanning’s watch—has won 45 Emmys, 23 duPont-Columbia University Awards, 13 Peabody Awards, and 10 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. In 2002, the series was honored with an unprecedented third Gold Baton for its post-September 11 coverage.