June 26, 2019 | 82° F

Rutgers announces Bill Moyers as 2016 commencement speaker

Photo by citizen.org |

Bill Moyers has been named as the 2016 commencement speaker for Rutgers University - New Brunswick.

Former Press Secretary and journalist Bill Moyers will deliver the Rutgers University—New Brunswick Commencement address to the class of 2016.

Moyers, who served under the Johnson administration in the late 1960s, has been a broadcast journalist for more than 40 years, hosting shows at PBS, CBS and NBC. He ran his own production company for nearly 20 years, and is now an independent political commentator.

During his time in public service he was an aide to President John F. Kennedy and Linden B. Johnson. He served Johnson for two years before becoming press secretary, and is known for his investigation of White House Aide Jack Valenti and other administration officials.

He has won 36 Emmys, along with more than a dozen other awards over the course of his career, according to a press release sent out by University communications. The Television Hall of Fame also inducted him 21 years ago.

He was proposed as a commencement speaker last month, and approved at the April 6 Board of Governors meeting by unanimous consent.

“Moyers and his wife, Judith Davidson Moyers, have been responsible for the highly praised explorations of death and dying, addiction and recovery and faith and reason,” according to the press release.

He will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the stadium. Also present will be S. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, an astrophysicist who discovered the first pulsars. Bell Burnell will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

While Bell Burnell did not receive the Nobel Prize awarded for the discovery, she did make the initial discovery, and has received numerous other awards over the course of her career.

“Bell Burnell, who as a member of the first generation of pioneering female scientists had to overcome discrimination by her male counterparts, became a professor of physics in 1991 at the Open University — a United Kingdom institution focusing on serving nontraditional students,” according to the press release.

She was one of only two female physics professors in the entire United Kingdom at the time, and quintupled research funding for the department over the next four years. She has since been a visiting faculty member at Princeton University and held other distinguished positions with various institutions.

She is also a Dame of the British Empire.

“The board also announced that Sister Mary Scullion, an advocate for the homeless and mentally ill … and Raymond Ackerman, a South African entrepreneur (and) philanthropist … will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at Rutgers University—Camden’s commencement,” according to the release.

Scullion helped found Project HOME in 1989, which helps the homeless in Philadelphia, while Ackerman ran Pick n Pay, the second-largest chain in South Africa, from 1966 to 2010.

Project HOME has more than 700 housing units and also runs different businesses that assist the homeless by providing them with jobs.

Both will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree during the event.

The Rutgers—New Brunswick commencement address will take place on May 15, while the Rutgers—Camden address is on May 19.

Nikhilesh De is a School of Engineering junior. He is the news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @nikhileshde for more.

Nikhilesh De

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