Dominican Celebrates 118th Commencement

Dominican awarded degrees to 475 students during commencement ceremonies this month. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey delivered the graduate commencement address on May 16. Environmentalist Huey D. Johnson delivered the undergraduate address on May 17. Honorary degrees were awarded to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and family services advocate Ethel Seiderman.

Of the 475 students awarded degrees during Commencement 2008, 300 were undergraduate students and 175 were graduate students. An additional 65 students will graduate from Dominican’s teacher credential program in June.

Students in Dominican’s Asia Survey class and History Club first approached Dominican University President Joseph R. Fink about selecting Aung San Suu Kyi as an honorary degree recipient. Her National League for Democracy won elections in Burma in 1990 but the military junta has refused to hand over power. She has been under house arrest for almost 12 of the past 18 years. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. This month it was announced that she is being awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal.

Aung San Suu Kyi was represented at the undergraduate commencement ceremony by her cousin Dr. Sein Win, who is prime minister of the exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma.

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey is in her eighth term as the representative from California’s 6th District, which includes all of Marin and most of Sonoma County. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Woolsey is a vocal and visible leader on progressive issues, particularly those dealing with children and families. She also sits on the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is a senior member of the House Committee on Science and Technology and is Chairwoman of the Committee on Education and Labor’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee.

Huey D. Johnson is an internationally distinguished environmentalist known as a leading U.S. proponent of green plans. He is also widely respected for his pioneering work on land conservation and environmental policy. Organizations he has founded include: The Resource Renewal Institute, The Trust for Public Land, The Grand Canyon Trust, The Environmental Liaison Center in Nairobi, Defense of Place, and the Aldo Leopold Society. In addition, Mr. Johnson was responsible for building The Nature Conservancy in the West, serving for eight years as its Western Regional Director and for one year as its President. He also served as Secretary of Resources for the State of California.

Ethel Seiderman is nationally recognized for her innovative approaches to childcare and family services. In 1973, she founded the Fairfax-San Anselmo Children’s Center, which has served as a model for other programs throughout the nation. Seiderman is the co-founder of Parent Services Project, where she served as Executive Director until November 2007. She will be awarded her honorary degree at the graduate ceremony.