Commencement 2008
Honorary Degrees

John C. Cushman III ’63: A Colgate trustee emeritus, John is a well-known leader in the commercial real estate industry both in the United States and around the world. He is chair of the board of Cushman and Wakefield and has negotiated some of the largest and most complex building and land sales and leases in the world. He is a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve on the California Commission on Jobs and Economic Growth. He is a member of the board of Callaway Golf and LaQuinta Corp. (among others) and is the chairman and director of Zaca Mesa Winery. In 2004, John was elected president of the Boy Scouts of America for a two-year term. He is a member of the James B. Colgate Society, a member in perpetuity of the Presidents’ Club, received a Maroon Citation in 1973, and the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in 1988.


Dr. LaSalle Leffal: Dr. Leffal is the Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at Howard University Medical School and is one of the nation’s leading oncologists/surgeons and educators. Dr. Leffal served as national president of the American Cancer Society and is currently chair of the President’s Cancer Panel. This three-person panel (Dr. Lafall serves with Lance Armstrong and Dr. Margaret Kripke) reports directly to President Bush and is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the national cancer program.

William McKibben: Bill is an Adirondack-based environmentalist and author whose writing and activism focuses on issues of global warming, alternative energy and genetic engineering. Significantly, his first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 and serialized in the New Yorker. It is considered the first book on climate change aimed at a general audience. This past fall, he spoke on campus as part of the Center for Ethics and World Society’s program on global warming and human society and was extremely well-received. McKibben has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and he is currently a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.


Gail O’Day: Gail will be our Baccalaureate speaker this year. She is the A.H. Shatford Professor of Preaching and New Testament and the Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University. Her current research focuses on the Gospel of John, the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, and the Bible and preaching. She is the editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, served as a co-editor of the Oxford Access Bible and is the author of several publications on the Gospel of John.


Aung San Suu Kyi: The daughter of Burma’s independence hero Aung San, she received her education at Oxford. She returned to Burma in 1988 when the country was in political turmoil, and led the peaceful revolt against then-dictator General Ne Win and championed democratic reform and free elections. She was put under house arrest by the military government in 1989 and has spent the majority of the last 19 years under house arrest. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Protests by monks against the government this past fall have once again focused attention on the issue of democracy in Burma.


Lesley Stahl: One of the country's most respected journalists, Stahl has been a correspondent on 60 Minutes since 1991. She also served in CBS News' Washington bureau and reported on Watergate, the Gulf War, and every political convention and election night since 1974. Stahl has received several Emmy Awards for her work at CBS News along with an Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television. She's a cum laude graduate of Wheaton College and currently serves on the college's board as well as that of the New York City Ballet. "The global reach of Ms. Stahl's work is particularly exciting for seniors because there's a lot of interest in international affairs at Colgate," said Taylor Buonocore '08, senior class president.
"There's a lot of experience and perspective behind the message she'll give during commencement."