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Simmons Commencement To Honor 1,700 New Graduates and Retiring President

Eve Ensler, Internationally Acclaimed Playwright and Activist, is Commencement Speaker

BOSTON (May 1, 2006) — Outgoing Simmons College President Daniel Cheever, Jr—who is credited by many for dramatic improvements in the college—will be honored during his final commencement ceremony Saturday, May 20 in Boston. 

Internationally acclaimed playwright and activist Eve Ensler will deliver the commencement speech at the 10:00 a.m. ceremony at the Bayside Exposition Center.

 Cheever, who will retire after 11 years at the helm of Simmons, will join trustees in awarding degrees to more than 1,700 graduates.  The Simmons community will also honor Cheever for his leadership in dramatic improvements to the century-old college, including record-high enrollments and fundraising; modernized curriculum; and major building improvements and expansion.

Commencement speaker Eve Ensler is an internationally acclaimed playwright, performer and activist who has used her creative skills to celebrate women's strength, and to help stop violence against women and girls around the globe.  Ensler is best known for her one-woman play, "The Vagina Monologues," which created a theatrical sensation in the 1990s with sold-out performances around the world and translation into more than 45 languages.  Her experience performing the play inspired her to create V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls that has raised more than $30 million and has been named one of the world's best charities.

During the ceremony, President Cheever and Trustee Chair Lucia Luce Quinn will award honorary doctoral degrees to Ensler and:

—Richard M. Freeland, president of Northeastern University, under whose leadership Northeastern has focused on achieving excellence as a national research university that is student-centered, practice-oriented, and urban.  Freeland retires in July.

—Mary Bartlett Bunge, distinguished professor of neuroscience, cell biology and anatomy, neurological surgery and neurology at the University of Miami and a member of the international research consortium of the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.  Bunge, working in the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, is a pioneer in elucidating the structure and function of cells that form myelin, and, more recently, in developing a new spinal cord injury model and novel combination strategies to improve repair of the injured spinal cord.

—Cornelia A.  Kelley, the first woman head master of Boston Latin School, an exam school that is the nation's oldest school (founded in 1635), known for its rigorous curriculum grounded in the classics.

—Vivian W. Pinn, the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health.  Pinn has long been active in efforts to improve the health and career opportunities for woman and minorities.

—Esta Soler, a pioneer who founded the Family Violence Prevention Fund, one of the world's leading violence prevention agencies.  The fund develops strategies to prevent domestic, dating and sexual violence, and stalking and child abuse.

Simmons College ( is a nationally recognized private university in Boston.  It includes an undergraduate college for women, and co-educational graduate programs in social work, health studies, management, library and information science, and the liberal arts.