Commencement 2003

Massachusetts chief justice to address Tufts graduates

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, the first woman to lead the 311-year-old court, will deliver the main address at Tufts University's 147th Commencement on Sunday, May 18.

As chief justice of the oldest court in the Western Hemisphere, Marshall has led an ambitious initiative to reform the Commonwealth's court system. She also has demonstrated a strong commitment to higher education throughout her career, which has included service as vice president and general counsel at Harvard University.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice margaret H. Marshall

Margaret H. Marshall

A native of South Africa, Marshall graduated from Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg in 1966. That year, she was elected president of the National Union of South African Students, becoming a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. She came to the United States in 1968 to pursue her graduate studies.

"As an activist in South Africa and now as the state's chief justice, Margaret Marshall has dedicated her life to protecting freedom and justice," Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow said. "Chief Justice Marshall embodies the value of public service that we encourage and cultivate in all of our students at Tufts. Her tireless life's work in support of social justice should serve as inspiration to us all."

First appointed an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court in November 1996, Marshall was named chief justice in September 1999 by Gov. Paul Cellucci. She is the second woman to serve on the state's highest court in its history.

Marshall and three others will receive honorary degrees during Tufts' 2003 Commencement ceremonies. The other recipients will be Arthur Mitchell, founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem; Nobel Prize-winning environmental scientist Mario Molina; and Agnes Varis, philanthropist and founder and CEO of the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company Agvar Chemicals Inc.

Following the university's main commencement ceremony, Mohammed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will speak to the graduates of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Commencement ceremonies for all Tufts' schools begin at 9 a.m. on May 18 on the main academic quad in front of Bendetson Hall on the Medford/Somerville campus. For more information about Commencement 2003, visit

For the first time this year, Tufts University will offer a real-time webcast of the all-university commencement ceremony and of the degree-awarding ceremony for graduates in Arts & Sciences, Engineering and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. For information on accessing the webcast, visit