Flynn, Neal, Roberts, Thompson To Receive Honorary DegreesMay 8, 2003
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 8, 2003 – Springfield College today announced that it will award honorary degrees of doctor of humanics to its president, Richard B. Flynn; Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.); ABCNews anchor Robin Roberts; and Liz Thompson, executive director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
Flynn, Neal and Thompson will receive the honors at commencement ceremonies for undergraduates on Sunday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m., on Blake Field, where Neal will give the commencement address. Roberts will be honored at commencement ceremonies for graduate students on Saturday, May 17, at 9:30 a.m., on the Administration Green, where she will be the featured speaker.
Springfield College has, historically, awarded honorary degrees to a few outstanding individuals who, by their character and accomplishments, personify the college’s guiding philosophy, humanics. The philosophy emphasizes the dedication of spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others.
In making the announcement, Springfield College Chairman of the Board of Trustees John A. Odierna said, “In view of Dr. Flynn’s outstanding contributions since becoming the 12th president of Springfield College, the Board of Trustees believes that a demonstration of its confidence in his performance as president warrants the conferring of an honorary degree upon him at this time. In addition, his personal and professional accomplishments are in keeping with the highest traditions and ideals of Springfield College and its distinctive humanics philosophy. This conferral will also allow him to proudly wear the College colors whenever circumstances dictate.”
Neal was elected to Congress in 1988 after serving since 1984 as Mayor of Springfield. A former corporator of Springfield College, Neal has been an at-large Democratic whip since 1992. In the 104th Congress, he was co-chairman of the Democratic Task Force on Welfare Reform; and in the 105th Congress, he became co-chairman of the New England Congressional Caucus.
Roberts, an award-winning journalist, began her career as a sports reporter in Hattiesburg, Miss. and rose to host of the ESPN prime time program “In the Sports Spotlight” before adding responsibilities at ABCNews. Among accomplishments at ESPN, she anchored “SportsCenter,” contributed to “NFL Prime Time,” and provided reports from such major events as Wimbledon and the Winter and Summer Olympics. At ABCNews since 1995, she has covered a broad range of major national events and interviewed leading newsmakers in government, entertainment and sports.
Thompson is the former executive director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and School in Becket, Massachusetts, which was founded by former Springfield College faculty member Ted Shawn. Under her leadership, Jacob’s Pillow expanded its programs and facilities and received international acclaim. As executive director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for the past five years, she has strengthened and expanded the organization, its programming, and artists’ services. She holds leadership positions in a number of organizations dedicated to the development of Lower Manhattan.