College News

Partners in Health’s Paul Farmer to speak at Macalester Commencement

April 14, 2014

CATEGORY: College News

St. Paul, Minn. - Physician and medical anthropologist Paul Farmer will deliver the commencement address at the 2014 Macalester College graduation ceremony.  Lucy Andrews, of Plymouth, Minn., is the senior class speaker. Andrews is a Geology major and captain of the Women's Track and Field Team.

Commencement will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 17, at the college. Macalester will be streaming commencement at macalester.edu/commencement/  Check back for updates.

Farmer is chief strategist and co-founder of Partners In Health, Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He also serves as U.N. Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti.

Partners in Health provides a preferential option for the poor in health care. At its root, the organization’s mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone.

“Paul Farmer and Macalester are friends because we both care about public health and the class of 2014,” said President Brian Rosenberg.  “In 2008, the college added the “Community and Global Health Concentration,” which naturally blends the liberal arts and public health. In 2010, we invited Paul to be the opening convocation speaker when these graduating seniors were first-years. It seems fitting he is the commencement speaker, sending the class of 2014 on their way.” 

Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. His most recent book is To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation.

Author Tracy Kidder’s book about Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, was the MacReads book of choice for the class of 2017 this fall.  MacReads is Macalester’s common reading program.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are, Jack Reuler ‘75, and retiring faculty Carleton Macy, Music and Peter Weisensel, History:

Jack Reuler ’75 is the founder and artistic director of the award-winning Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. In 38 years, Mixed Blood has welcomed more than 2.5 million people into its audiences. True to Reuler’s vision, its productions explore theater as a grassroots effort to effect change, breaking down barriers related to ethnicity, class, language, disability, and sexual orientation.

Carleton Macy has taught in the Macalester Music Department for 36 years. He helped shape nearly every department ensemble and, in addition to being a versatile musician, has composed 130 works for orchestra, band, chamber ensembles, solo voice and choir, jazz, and traditional Chinese instruments.

Peter Weisensel is retiring from Macalester after 41 years—his entire teaching career—as a professor in the history department. He taught courses on European history and many eras of Russian history, his specialty.

Commencement ceremonies will include an academic procession led by the Macalester Pipe Band, flag bearers representing 32 countries of the 65 graduating international seniors plus the U.S. and U.N. flags, faculty in academic robes and the 483 seniors.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,011 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at macalester.edu.