Honorable Willie Brown Delivers Commencement Address

The Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr., two-term Mayor of San Francisco, legendary Speaker of the California State Assembly, and widely regarded as the most influential African-American politician of the late twentieth century, told graduates "your fate and your opportunities are in your hands" during the undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16.

Mayor Brown, a member of Dominican’s Board of Trustees, received a doctor of laws, honoris causa. Also honored at the undergraduate commencement with honorary degrees were John F. Allen, Dominican trustee emeritus and former chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, and Ludwig Marent, who has carved every class shield since 1962.

Mayor Brown has been at the center of California politics, government, and civic life for four decades. From civil rights to education reform, tax policy, economic development, health care, international trade, domestic partnerships, and affirmative action, he’s left his imprint on every aspect of politics and public policy in the Golden State since joining the California State Assembly in 1964. As Mayor of San Francisco, he refurbished and rebuilt the nation’s busiest transit system, pioneered the use of bond measures to build affordable housing, and created a model juvenile justice system. Today, he heads the Willie L. Brown, Jr., Institute on Politics and Public Service.

Dr. Eva Harris, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley, delivered the graduate commencement address on May 15. Dr. Harris received the degree doctor of science, honoris causa.

Dr. Harris received a MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1997 for her pioneering work over the previous 10 years developing programs to build scientific capacity in developing countries to address public health and infectious disease issues. She is founder and president of Sustainable Sciences Institute, an international non-profit organization dedicated to developing research capacity in areas with pressing health problems.

Of the approximately 470 students who received degrees during Commencement 2009, 310 were undergraduates and 160 were  graduate students. An additional 90 students are scheduled to graduate from Dominican’s teacher credential program in June.

Search the link to read an article about Commencement 2009 in the Marin Independent Journal.