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Award-Winning Journalist to Deliver 2012 Simmons College Commencement Address, May 18

BOSTON (February 29, 2012) — Maria Hinojosa, managing editor and host of the weekly NPR program Latino USA and one of the first Latinas to hold a national broadcast media position, will deliver the main commencement address for Simmons College, Friday, May 18, at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.

Hinojosa who also anchors the talk show Maria Hinojosa: One on One on WGBH/La Plaza, will serve as the keynote speaker for the 10 a.m. undergraduate ceremony celebrating Simmons's 107th Commencement.

(Note: Simmons will be streaming live video of the Commencement ceremony on its website. The College also will be tweeting from the Commencement ceremony on its @SimmonsCollege Twitter account.)


Known for her unique story-telling ability that seeks to capture the changing cultural landscape of the United States, Hinojosa is considered a trailblazer for women journalists. Her reports often illuminate difficult issues that some would rather ignore — from the plight of immigrant workers in post-Katrina New Orleans, to teen victims of sexual harassment on the job, to the poor in Alabama. Her 25-year career has provided radio and television audiences with meaningful stories that reflect a diverse America. Hinojosa also is a contributing correspondent for the Emmy Award-winning PBS program Need to Know. She previously was senior correspondent for the news magazine show NOW on PBS, and spent eight years as a CNN correspondent for urban affairs. Most recently, she launched The Futuro Media Group, which aims to create multi-platform, community-based journalism that celebrates the richness of the American experience. Simmons will present Hinojosa with an honorary degree.

Carla Harris, managing director in the strategic client group at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and head of its emerging manager platform, will be the keynote speaker for the 2 p.m. ceremony for master's and doctoral degree students.

Harris is a successful executive whose expertise spans more than two decades and a variety of industries including, technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, and healthcare. She has headed the equity capital markets effort for the consumer and retail industries, was responsible for equity private placements, and served as a senior member of the Equity Syndicate Desk. In this role, Harris executed the initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living, Omnimedia, and the $3.2 billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation — one of the largest biotechnology common stock transactions in U.S. history. Today, Harris provides investment advice to corporations, public pension plans, foundations, and endowments. She is a strong advocate for community service and sits on multiple boards. She also is a well-known gospel singer who has performed in esteemed venues including Carnegie Hall, and has released several albums. Harris also will receive an honorary degree from Simmons.

During Simmons's Commencement ceremony, Simmons College Board of Trustees Chair Lauren Brisky and President Helen G. Drinan also will award honorary doctoral degrees to the following individuals:

  • Vanessa Kirsch — a social entrepreneur dedicated to developing innovative solutions to social problems, and founder of New Profit Inc., a national venture fund based in Cambridge, Mass., that matches philanthropists with visionary social entrepreneurs to gain the financial resources and strategic support they need to grow.
  • Robert P. Moses, Ph.D. — a dynamic leader of the Civil Rights Movement and founder of a national math literacy program, The Algebra Project, which is designed to help ensure a quality education for every American child.
  • Carol Ochs, Ph.D. — a feminist theologian and emerita professor of Simmons College, who helped to establish a major in philosophy at Simmons and became the first woman to chair a department.
  • Catharine R. Stimpson, Ph.D. — a feminist scholar, prolific writer and speaker, who has led a distinguished career challenging social and cultural norms. She is a professor and dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University.

Founded in 1899, Simmons College (www.simmons.edu) is a nationally ranked university located in the heart of Boston with a history of visionary thinking, a focus on leadership development, and social responsibility. It offers undergraduate education for women, and renowned coeducational graduate programs in nursing and health sciences, liberal arts, library and information science, social work, as well as the nation's first MBA program designed specifically for women. Follow Simmons on Twitter @SimmonsCollege and @SimmonsNews.

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