OLIVET, Mich. Olivet College will recognize approximately 123 candidates for graduation during commencement exercises Sunday, May 18 at 2 p.m., on the Blair Hall lawn. The public is welcome to attend.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the commencement speaker, served as Marylands first woman Lt. Governor. She will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. State Rep. Michael Murphy of Lansing will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
During her tenure as Lt. Governor, Townsend worked on issues such as improving schools, fighting crime, economic development and ensuring children and seniors are receiving quality health care. She was instrumental in making Maryland the first state in the nation to require all high school students perform community service. In addition, she created the first statewide office of Character Education; ensuring Maryland schools focused on values and taught students right from wrong.
As Marylands point person on criminal justice, Townsend created HotSpots, a program that brought together law enforcement and community leaders to fight crime. Hailed as a national model, HotSpots reduced violent crime at record rates. She used this strategy to maximize Marylands other anti-crime efforts. Aimed at keeping people who are on parole and probation off drugs, her Break the Cycle anti-drug initiative dropped drug use by 56 percent among offenders.
Prior to serving as Marylands Lt. Governor, Townsend served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States, was the founder and director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance, and was an environmental attorney both in private practice and as an Assistant Attorney General in Maryland. She also managed Sen. Edward M. Kennedys successful election campaign in 1982.
Townsend, the eldest child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, lives in Baltimore County with her husband, David. They have four daughters.
Murphy is serving his second term as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives. He sits on the House Commerce, Energy and Technology, and Transportation committees, and is co-chair of the Legislative Childrens Caucus. Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Murphy was a member of the Lansing City Council, serving his last year as president.
Murphy currently serves on the Capital City African-American Cultural Association board, and is the pastor and founder of the St. Stephens Community Church, United Church of Christ in Lansing. He has served on the Michigan Municipal League Legislative and Urban Affairs Committee, the Lansing Blue Ribbon Committee on Downtown Revitalization, and he is a former Childrens Services Advisor to the Governor.