Suffolk University Opens Centennial Celebration with Former President Bush as Keynote Speaker


Former President George H.W. Bush will be the keynote speaker as Suffolk University formally opens its Centennial Celebration on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006.

More than 3,000 people will attend this historic event, including everyone in the Suffolk community – trustees, alumni, faculty, administrators, staff and students – as well as various dignitaries, educators, judicial, political, business and civic leaders.

Two special and spirited individuals with a longtime connection to the Suffolk family will also be in attendance.  They are Suffolk Law School graduates John Gardner (JD ’31) of Stoughton and Charles Griffin (JD ’32) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Gardner, 99, and Griffin, 98, are proud members of Suffolk’s Half-Century Club, a unique entity honoring those graduates who have celebrated their 50th anniversary with the University.

The day will begin with an academic convocation on the Boston Common, and end with a birthday celebration in Pemberton Square.

Beginning at 10 a.m., Suffolk University President David J. Sargent will open the Centennial Celebration by leading a grand procession from the Law School to the Boston Common Parade Ground.  The procession will include over 525 dignitaries, Suffolk faculty and administrators, other university and college administrators, trustees, key alumni, and student representatives.

At 11 a.m., former President Bush will speak at an invitation-only academic convocation.  An honorary doctor of public administration degree will be conferred on the former president.

Suffolk University will also award honorary degrees to: Thomas M. Menino, Mayor of Boston; Andre Sonko, Former Minister of Education of Senegal; Carlos Westendorp y Cabeza, Ambassador of Spain; University Trustee John J. O’Connor, BSBA ’73, vice president of PricewaterhouseCoopers; The Honorable Richard Leon, JD ’74, judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; and Ann and Armen DerMarderosian, BA ’58, JD ’60, retired president & CEO of GTE Government Systems Corporation (dual degree).

The ceremony will include a special performance of Suffolk’s new alma mater, conducted by Emilio Aragón, a Suffolk alumnus and popular entertainer in Spain.

The day-long Centennial Celebration will continue with afternoon activities on the Boston Common and throughout the Suffolk campus.  Anna Deavere Smith, accomplished author and actress best known for her role on the popular television series The West Wing, will speak about her new book: Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts – for Actors, Performers, Writers and Artists of Every Kind, at 3:30 p.m. on the Boston Common.

This once-in-a-lifetime celebration will culminate with an evening cake-cutting ceremony and musical performances.

“This truly will be an historic day for Suffolk University and one that holds meaning for all members of our community,” said President Sargent.  “The University’s Centennial marks a unique right of passage for our University, and offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon our past achievements and renew our commitment to Suffolk’s founding mission of access to excellence.”

Suffolk University was founded in 1906 to provide education to working people. The first class consisted of nine men studying law at night.  Today the University holds firm to its original mission by providing quality education to students of all ages and backgrounds, with strong emphasis on diversity.

Suffolk University, located on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, with campuses in Madrid, Spain and Dakar, Senegal, is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by its teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty.  Suffolk offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 areas of study.  Suffolk has a combined enrollment of more than 8,500 full-time and part-time students at its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences and Sawyer Business School.

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