Commencement 2013 Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients
We are pleased to announce that our Commencement speaker this year is Carolyn Mugar, executive director of Farm Aid. Farm Aid is an organization that keeps family farmers on the land to guarantee an agricultural system that ensures farmers a fair living, strengthens our communities, protects our natural resources and delivers good food for all. It has raised more than $40 million to support family farms in America, and more generally, to promote jobs on farms, and healthy food production. She was hand-picked to lead Farm Aid by one of its founders, singer Willie Nelson, and charged with distributing the first funds raised by its inaugural concert in 1985. The organization's impact on family farms in America has been considerable.
Ms. Mugar also founded the Armenia Tree Project (ATP), with locations in Massachusetts and Armenia. Upon the reestablishment of independence of Armenia, one of the most urgent needs identified was to restore its ecological balance. Decades of neglect, and even abuse, created a fragile ecosystem on the verge of collapse. The ATP works to further Armenia's economic and social development by mobilizing resources to fund tree planting. These vital new trees provide food, environmental benefits, and opportunities for economic growth. The goal is to assist the Armenian people in using trees to improve their standard of living and protect the environment. The ATP is guided by the need to promote self-sufficiency, aid those with the fewest resources first, and conserve the indigenous ecosystem.
Previously, Ms. Mugar was an organizer with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers International Union. She is the president of the Armenian Assembly of America and is a board member of Mother Jones.
She was married to the late John T. O'Connor '78, who served as a Clark trustee from 1997 to 2001.
Honorary Degree Recipients
We are pleased to confer honorary degrees upon the following individuals:
Sumner B. "Tony" Tilton, Jr.
Mr. Tilton is a civic leader, respected attorney and dedicated advocate of Clark University and the City of Worcester.
An Officer at Fletcher Tilton PC, he specializes in estate planning and estate and trust administration law. Mr. Tilton also serves on the firm's Executive Committee, Compensation Committee and Investment Committee and is Chairman of the Trusts and Estates Department.
A lifelong resident of Worcester, Mr. Tilton has dedicated countless hours to his hometown. His leadership commitments to Worcester include serving as past chairman of the board of UMass Memorial Healthcare and Choose Worcester, a private nonprofit economic development organization, and as former director of both the YMCA of Greater Worcester and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is an honorary trustee of the Worcester Art Museum and the EcoTarium, and serves as trustee of the Francis A. and Jacquelyn H. Harrington Foundation, the Hoche-Schofield Foundation, the Ruth H. and Warren Ellsworth Foundation, the Mildred H. McEvoy Foundation, and the Willard House and Clock Museum. He has served as president of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and, in 2008, received the prestigious Isaiah Thomas Award, which recognizes his civic involvement in the City of Worcester.
Beyond Worcester, Mr. Tilton has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Health Care Security Trust (the Massachusetts Tobacco Fund) and as a former trustee of the Middlesex School in Concord, Mass. Currently, he serves on the Board of Trustees of Cape Cod Healthcare.
Mr. Tilton's sustained and dedicated commitment to community and philanthropy extends to Clark University, where he has helped guide the University's relationship with the City of Worcester and been a powerful force in promoting Clark's success. He is Life Member and former chair of the Clark University Board of Trustees, and current co-chair of Campaign Clark. Tilton Hall—one of the iconic spaces on campus—is named in recognition of his generous support of Clark.
Mr. Tilton received his B.A. from Williams College and earned his J.D., cum laude, from Boston University School of Law.
S. Paul Reville
Mr. Reville is professor of practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and former Massachusetts Secretary of Education (2008 to 2012). Described by Governor Deval Patrick as "the father of Massachusetts education reform," Mr. Reville has held numerous leadership positions in the education sector dedicated to the improvement of preK-12 public education.
As Gov. Patrick's top education adviser, Mr. Reville established the Executive Office of Education and had oversight of higher education, K-12 and early education in the nation's leading student achievement state. He served in the Governor's Cabinet and played a leading education reform role on matters ranging from the Achievement Gap Act of 2010 and Common Core State Standards to the Commonwealth's highly successful Race to the Top proposal.
Prior to joining the Patrick administration, Mr. Reville had chaired the Massachusetts State Board of Education, founded the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, co-founded the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE), chaired the Massachusetts Reform Review Commission, chaired the Massachusetts Commission on Time and Learning and served as executive director of the Pew Forum on Standards-Based Reform, a national "think tank" that convened leading U.S. researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to set the national standards agenda. Mr. Reville played a central role in MBAE's development of and advocacy for Massachusetts' historic "Education Reform Act of 1993."
Mr. Reville's career, which combines research, policy and practice, began with service as a VISTA volunteer/youth worker. He served as a teacher and principal of two urban, alternative high schools. Some years later, he founded a local education foundation which was part of the Public Education Network. He is a board member and advisor to a host of organizations, and a frequent writer and speaker on education reform and policy issues.
Mr. Sidibé is executive director of UNAIDS and a 25-year public service veteran, committed to transforming the Joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS into a people-centered and results-oriented organization that will eliminate new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.
Mr. Sidibé's passion for advancing global health began in his native Mali, where he took up the cause of the nomadic Tuareg people. His tireless efforts to improve their health and welfare evolved into a role as a country director for the international development federation Terre des Hommes. Since those early days, he has spent more than 25 years in public service, including with UNICEF in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Burundi, Swaziland and Uganda, and with UNAIDS. He is also on the board of directors of Grassroot Soccer.
Mr. Sidibé became the Director of the Country and Regional Support Department of UNAIDS in 2001. In 2007, he was appointed as UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director of Programmes and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. He led UNAIDS' contributions to regional and country responses as well as its efforts in global policies, evidence, and monitoring and evaluation. He has been the Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations since 2009. He was named one of the 50 personalities of the year in 2009 by the newspaper Le Monde, and in 2007 he was awarded an honorary professorship at Stellenbosch University of South Africa. He is a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France, an Officer of the National Order of Mali, and was awarded an Order of Saint-Charles by Monaco.