Posted by: markatmcla | March 30, 2009

2009 Commencement

March 30, 2009

Dear Campus Community,

I’m very pleased to inform you that the Board of Trustees has approved the 2009 Commencement keynote speaker and honorary degree recipients. Tomorrow, we will release this information to the public.

Author, musician and composer James McBride will be our Commencement keynote speaker. Mr. McBride most recently was on campus this past fall, when he discussed his best-selling memoir, The Color of Water, with our students and performed with his jazz band. Considered an American classic, this book is read in schools and universities across the United States. A former staff writer for The Boston Globe, People magazine and The Washington Post, his work also has appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. His April, 2007 National Geographic story, entitled “Hip Hop Planet,” is considered a respected treatise on African American music and culture.

We also will recognize three additional distinguished individuals, Sarah “Sally” Goodrich, Brian K. Fitzgerald ’75 and Vice President of Academic Affairs Steve Green.
Mrs. Goodrich directs the work of the Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation, which works primarily in the Pashtun provinces of Afghanistan to support education and address the fundamental needs of fragile populations. She speaks often in schools, colleges, places of worship and community centers about Afghanistan and engages American students in service projects for Afghanistan. She established the foundation in memory of her son, Peter, who was on United Airlines flight 175 when it was hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Dr. Fitzgerald leads the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) as its executive director. The Forum is an organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, prominent college and university presidents and foundation leaders who work to advance innovative solutions to our nation’s most pressing education challenges. Previously, he served for 16 years as staff director for the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Under his leadership, the Committee played a major role in persuading Congress and the Education Department to take steps to simplify and modernize the way that students apply for and receive federal aid.

Dr. Steve Green has been at MCLA since 1973. After nearly 36 years of distinguished service and engagement with the community, he will retire at the end of June. As an educator, he spent countless hours working with students in the classroom and serving as an advisor and mentor outside of class. He has been a dedicated member of the MCLA community, serving on numerous College committees. As a member of the local community, he has been involved with a variety of service agencies, including the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and the United Way Campaign.

On the occasion of his final commencement, I will be pleased to award him with the MCLA President’s Medal for Distinguished Service, the second since I inaugurated the award. The first President’s Medal was presented at the 2007 Commencement ceremony to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. The President’s medal recognizes individuals who embody the spirit of service to the community.

James McBride, Sally Goodrich Brian Fitzgerald and Steve Green all are looking forward to being a part of this year’s celebration. We are delighted to recognize these four individuals for their achievements and many contributions to Berkshire County, the country and the world. More information about the keynote speaker, our honorary degree recipients and the 110th Commencement exercises will be posted on the MCLA Web site, [ ]

Although it’s beginning to feel a lot more like spring, it is hard to imagine that Commencement is just seven weeks away! We have much to look forward to as we get ready to celebrate the achievements of the class of 2009.

Mary Grant



  1. we are very excited
    here at mcla
    with this announcement

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