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Commencement Speaker Announced

Commencement Speaker AnnouncedWalter Isaacson – author of best-selling biography ‘Ben Franklin: An American Life’ – to be joined by Grammy-winning musician, U.S. Senator, Apollo Astronaut, College President and Wall Street Executive. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.13.04] Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson will deliver the annual commencement address at Tufts, University officials today announced. The former managing editor of TIME, and chairman and CEO of CNN, Isaacson has won critical acclaim for his work as a journalist, media executive and author.

Commencement 2004: Check back Sunday, May 23, for photos, speechs and articles about graduation day. See last year's coverage [here].

Most recently, Isaacson made news with the release of his third book - Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Praised by critics across the country, the biography has been a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list for more than six months.

"Widely regarded as one of the best in the business, Walter Isaacson has played a key role in reporting and analyzing the leading issues and figures of contemporary and historic times," Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow said. "His celebrated and accomplished career is a testament to his sharp intellect, boundless curiosity and unwavering integrity - qualities our students, faculty and staff hold with the highest regard."

As head of the world-renowned Aspen Institute headquartered in Washington, DC, Isaacson oversees the 54-year-old institute's mission to engage corporate and world leaders in an ongoing dialogue about the contemporary issues facing the international community.

The New Orleans native joined the Institute in 2003 after a celebrated career in journalism spanning nearly 30 years in which he led two of the most influential media organizations in the world. Isaacson served as managing editor of TIME Magazine in the late 1990s before taking the helm at CNN in 2001. During his tenure, CNN's nine networks and news services earned their highest ratings in history, won four Emmy Awards and was named the most credible TV or print news source in the country in 2002.

During Tufts' 148th commencement exercises, Isaacson will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters. He will be joined by an accomplished group of honorary degree recipients:

• Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong will receive an honorary doctorate of engineering;
• Grammy-award winning musician and Tufts graduate Tracy Chapman will receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts;
• Former Oppenheimer CIBC Vice Chair Nathan Gantcher - a Tufts graduate who served as chair of the University's Board of Trustees for eight years - will receive an honorary doctorate of business administration;
• Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) will receive an honorary doctorate of laws;
• Morehouse College President and former National Science Foundation director Walter Massey will receive an honorary doctorate of science.

"Tufts is pleased to honor this extremely talented group of individuals who have brought vision and passion to their respective fields," Bacow said. "They literally have taken us to the moon and back."

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