Williams College Announces Its 2018 Honorary Degree Recipients

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 14, 2018— Bob Schieffer, former CBS News reporter and award-winning journalist, will be the principal speaker at Williams College’s 229th Commencement Exercise on Sunday, June 3. The day before, Janet Murguía, civil rights activist and president and CEO of UnidosUS, will be the Baccalaureate speaker. Both will receive honorary degrees at Commencement, as will pediatrician and public health advocate Mona Hanna-Attisha and novelist and screenwriter John Irving.

2018 Honorary Degree Recipients

Bob Schieffer

Bob SchiefferBob Schieffer has been a reporter for more than half a century. Before his retirement in 2015, Schieffer spent 46 years at CBS News, where he anchored the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News for 23 years and Face the Nation for 24 years. After his official retirement, he returned to offer political analysis during the presidential election of 2016 and still offers analysis and commentary on various CBS News platforms. Schieffer has won virtually every award in broadcast journalism, including eight Emmys, the overseas Press Club Award, the Paul White Award, and the Edward R. Murrow Award. He was named a living legend by the Library of Congress in 2008 and inducted into the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2013. Schieffer has interviewed every president since Richard Nixon and has moderated three debates (in 2004, 2008, and 2012) for the Presidential Commission on Debates. He also served as the Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center. Schieffer is the author of five books: The New York Times bestsellers This Just in: What I Couldn’t Tell You on TV and Bob Schieffer’s America, as well as Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories from the First 50 Years of the Award-winning News Broadcast, The Acting President, and Overload: Finding Truth in Today’s Deluge of News. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University.

Janet Murguía

Janet MurguiaJanet Murguía is president and CEO of UnidosUS, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Since 2005 Murguía has sought to strengthen UnidosUS’s work and enhance its record of impact as a vital American institution. She has also amplified the Latino voice on issues affecting the Hispanic community, such as education, health care, immigration, civil rights, and the economy. Murguía has been recognized on numerous occasions for her work, having twice been selected as one of Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington” and as one of the NonProfit Times’ “Power and Influence Top 50” leaders. Prior to UnidosUS she worked at the White House, ultimately serving as deputy assistant to President Clinton, and at the University of Kansas, where she was executive vice chancellor for university relations. Murguía grew up in Kansas City, Kan., and received her B.A., B.S., and J.D. from the University of Kansas. She also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and an honorary doctorate of laws from Wake Forest University.

Mona Hanna-Attisha

Mona Hanna-Attisha
Photo courtesy of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Mona Hanna-Attisha is an award-winning pediatrician and public health advocate whose research spotlighted the Flint (Mich.) water crisis, revealing that children were exposed to dangerous levels of lead from the city’s water supply. Hanna-Attisha grew up in Royal Oak, Mich., and first fell in love with pediatrics during her clinical years as a medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. After completing her residency and chief residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, she earned a master’s degree in public health, concentrating in health management and policy. She was also an assistant professor at Wayne State University Department of Pediatrics and an associate director of the Pediatric Residency Program at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. In addition to educating the next generation of physicians, Hanna-Attisha now directs the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Public Health Initiative, an innovative public health program to research, monitor, and mitigate the impact of lead on Flint’s children due to the Flint water crisis. Her book, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, will be published in June. She received a B.S. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan and an M.D. from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

John Irving

John IrvingJohn Irving is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was 26. Irving went on to achieve critical and popular acclaim after the international success of The World According to Garp, published in 1978, which earned him a National Book Award. He also received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story, “Interior Space.” Many of Irving’s novels, including The Cider House Rules (1985), A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), and A Widow for One Year (1998), have been bestsellers, and five have been adapted into films. In 1999, he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his script of The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel, In One Person. Irving’s novels have been translated into more than 35 languages. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany. In addition to writing, Irving competed as a wrestler for 20 years, and coached the sport until he was 47. Irving received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.







Published March 14, 2018