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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI to award four honorary degrees at commencement

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 8, 2002 -- A statesman who now heads the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a tough but unforgettable URI journalism professor, a CEO of one of the world’s leading information companies, and a disability advocate will receive honorary degrees during the University of Rhode Island’s 116th undergraduate commencement on Sunday, May 19.

Recipients who have distinguished themselves for their contributions to the University, the state of Rhode Island, or the nation are chosen by the University’s Honorary Degree Committee, chaired this year by Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs M. Beverly Swan. The recipients to be recognized are:

o John Shattuck, chief executive officer, John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation. For the past 30 years, John Shattuck has had a distinguished career in government, education, and the non-profit sector. Before he took his latest post as head of the Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston, Shattuck served as the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, helping this pivotal Central European country as it moved from communism to democracy. From 1993 to 1998, he served as assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and played a leadership role in efforts to end the war in Bosnia and negotiate the Dayton Peace Agreement, establish the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and restore a democratically-elected government to Haiti. Before entering government service, Shattuck was vice president for government, community and public affairs at Harvard University.

o Wilbur Doctor, URI professor emeritus of journalism. From 1965 until his retirement in 1983, Wilbur Doctor of Kingston taught URI journalism students how to assemble a news story, how to gather facts, how to get the story right and how to get it fast. Doctor had honed his craft at Rhode Island newspapers, working first for The Newport Daily News and then for 16 years on the rewrite desk for The Providence Journal where he was known for his ability to turn out crisp, colorful, and accurate copy, often from fragmented and confused accounts from reporters in the field. Doctor liked strong, muscular words, disliked puffery, and felt that the newspaper business was a calling more than a vocation. Even more importantly, he instilled in his students the need for integrity, honesty, and ethics. Although his gruff manner and intolerance of mediocrity left many of his students shaking in their boots, many today credit their successes in journalism to those redlined lessons learned at URI.

oRichard Harrington, president and chief executive officer, The Thomson Corporation. Although Dick Harrington graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1973 with a degree in accounting, he has never forgotten his alma mater. He now heads The Thomson Corporation headquartered in Stamford, Conn., one of the world’s leading information businesses with more than 40,000 employees and revenues in excess of $6 billion. Yet Harrington still finds time to help his University. He is an active member of the College of Business Administration’s Advisory Council, a member of that College’s Hall of Fame, and chaired the College’s highly-successful $5.6 million Shareholders Campaign which will help transform Ballentine Hall, the College’s home, into a modern center for educating future global leaders. In addition, Harrington was the speaker at URI’s CEO Leadership Forum in 1999 and serves as a trustee of the URI Foundation.

o Nancy Carpenter French Schock, long-time advocate for assisting people with disabilities. Nancy Schock of Lexington, Mass., a 1943 URI alumna, former head of the URI Women’s Athletic Department, and member of the URI Athletic Hall of Fame, founded the Information Center for Individuals with Disabilities in 1977 to assist people with disabilities and others seeking to help them. Her experiences with two of her five children – a daughter with a severe hearing loss and a son with muscular dystrophy—prompted Schock’s search for available resources for the care, education, and legal rights of the disabled people as well as ideas on how to prevail. Later she felt the need to share this information with others. Although the center lost its funding and had to shut down in 1996, Schock and other volunteers continue to produce newsletters and maintain an information packed web site,

For Information: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

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