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General Motors Chairman to Address Holy Cross Graduates

March 30th, 1999 by 

WORCESTER, Mass. – John F. Smith, Jr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of General Motors Corporation, will deliver the principal address and receive an honorary degree at the 153rd commencement exercises at the College of the Holy Cross on Friday, May 28.

Holy Cross will graduate 655 men and women during the ceremony, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Fitton Field.  In case of rain, the commencement exercises will be held in the Hart Recreation Center.

Smith, who was born in Worcester, has been CEO of GM since 1992, and became chairman in 1996.  He joined the company in 1961 at the Fisher Body facility in Framingham, Mass.  He earned his bachelor of business administration at the University of Massachusetts and an MBA at Boston University.

The following individuals will also receive honorary degrees:

Professor Peter L. Berger, is director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University.  A well-known sociologist, Berger is the author of numerous books including Redeeming Laughter (1997), and A Far Glory: The Quest for Faith in an Age of Credulity (1992).

Charles E.F. Millard, is former chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York.  Millard has a long and distinguished record of service to Holy Cross.  He is a trustee of the College and has served as national chairman of the Holy Cross Fund, chairman of President’s Council, and chairman of the Campaign for Holy Cross.  Millard, a 1954 graduate of the College, and his wife, Marylou, are the parents of eight children, all of whom are graduates of Holy Cross.

Rev. John W. O’Malley, S.J., is professor of church history at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology.  Fr. O’Malley has written extensively and is the editor of The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773 (in press, 1999).  In addition, he authored The First Jesuits (1993) which earned awards from the American Philosophical Society and the American Society of Church History.

Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., is a well-known member of the death penalty abolition movement and the critically acclaimed author of Dead Man Walking, the inspiration for the 1994 movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.  A member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille since 1957, she has served as a teacher, religious educator, and formation director for her community.  Currently, she continues her ministry to death row inmates and murder victims’ families and is working on a book about women’s struggles for equality in the Roman Catholic Church.

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