Commencement 2009 Honorary Degree Recipients

Louis Gossett, Jr.

Louis Gossett, Jr.Mr. Gossett has been an enduring public presence for more than five decades and ranks as one of the most respected actors of stage, screen, and television. He has appeared in almost 160 television and film productions since his career began in 1958.

In 1983, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film, An Officer and a Gentleman. Mr. Gossett also performed in the renowned television miniseries Roots and was a member of the original Broadway cast of A Raisin in the Sun. In 1961, he starred alongside Sidney Poitier in the film adaptation of the play. During his career, Mr. Gossett has won several Emmy, Golden Globe, and NAACP Image awards.

In 2006, Gossett launched The Eracism Foundation with the aim of eradicating the systematic impacts of all forms of racism by providing programs that foster cultural diversity, historical enrichment, education, and antiviolence initiatives. By addressing these issues, connecting individuals to their history and culture, The Eracism Foundation empowers the recipients of these services to improve the quality of life in their respective communities.

Mr. Gossett will deliver the commencement address.


Dr. Howard Gardner

Dr. Howard GardnerDr. Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, which posits that all human beings possess numerous autonomous intelligences rather than a single intelligence that can be measured through a tool such as the I.Q. test.

Dr. Gardner has been conferred numerous awards and honors, including a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981and a fellowship from the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2000. In 2005 he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world, and The Wall Street Journal named Dr. Gardner one of the world's top five influential business thinkers in 2008.

During a career that has spanned almost 40 years, Dr. Gardner has authored more 20 books and hundreds of articles, including his seminal 1993 work, Multiple Intelligences: Theory in Practice and his newest book, Five Minds for the Future which outlines the specific cognitive abilities that will be sought and cultivated by leaders in the years ahead.

Dr. Gardner has worked closely with Wheelock faculty on collaborations at Project Zero—an educational research group at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University that seeks to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines.


Margot Stern Strom

Margot Stern StromMs. Strom is an international leader in education for justice and the preservation of democracy. As the Executive Director of Facing History and Ourselves, she has enabled millions of students to study the Holocaust, to investigate root causes of racism, anti-Semitism, and violence, and to realize their obligations and capabilities as citizens in a democracy.

Facing History and Ourselves is an organization that delivers classroom strategies, resources, and lessons that inspire young people to take responsibility for their world by offering resources and study guides, civic engagement opportunities, and professional development for teachers. Facing History encourages young people to develop their own ideas and to contribute their voices to critical discussions and debates among their peers and in the larger community.

Ms. Strom founded the organization in 1976 after developing a program for her social studies class Runkle School in Brookline, Mass. that related her work in moral development to the history of the Holocaust.

What began in Brookline more than 30 years ago now connects 120 countries with more than 25,000 trained educators and reaches about 1.8 million students annually. Facing History has educational partnerships in a growing number of countries, including Northern Ireland, Israel, Rwanda, and South Africa.

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