April 3, 2001

Reno '60 to Give 2001 Convocation Address

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Janet Reno ’60, former U.S. attorney general during the Clinton Administration, will address the Class of 2001 at graduation in May. The Senior Class Convocation committee made the announcement late last night after the contract was finalized with Reno’s representatives.

The convocation committee is comprised of seniors on class council, the Cornell University Programming Board and the Student Assembly.

“We wanted someone who knew what [Cornell has] been like in the past and could connect that to where the University would go in the future,” said Nageeb Sumar ’01, convocation committee chair.

According Sumar, seniors expressed a strong interest in welcoming an alum to speak at the convocation ceremony.

“It’s been an honor to find someone to represent the [University’s] ideals and values,” Sumar said, noting that the Class of 2001 was the first to have input in the decision upon a speaker for its graduation.

With President Hunter R. Rawlings III and the Board of Trustees in attendance, the convocation ceremony will also include remarks from the convocation chair, the class president and the alumni president, who will present the class gift, Sumar noted.

Set for May 26 at Barton Hall, Janet Reno will speak at 12 p.m.

Because of the anticipated rush for seating in Barton to hear Reno, the class council plans to issue two tickets to each graduating senior — though convocation is usually open to the public.

Reno was one in a group of political leaders and entertainers, alumni and others, that made the top five most desired convocation speakers for the Class of 2001, according to Class President Claire Ackerman ’01.

“I’m personally very excited,” Ackerman said. “I’ve heard wonderful things about her as a speaker.”

Reno is the longest serving U.S. attorney general since before the Civil War, according to a release issued to the convocation committee.

“She has certainly experienced a great deal of controversy in her position and role and can therefore really talk about what kind of skills she needed to be successful and how her experiences at Cornell shaped her,” said Jennifer Davis, director of Class Councils, who oversaw the search process.

According to Davis, class feedback for the convocation speaker was greater than any other program or event sponsored by the class councils.

Archived article by Tanvi Chheda