St. Paul, Minn. – Former Vice President Walter Mondale will deliver the commencement address at the 2015 Macalester College graduation ceremony. Lisa Hu, of Lafayette, Calif., is the senior class speaker. Hu is a geography major with a community and global health concentration, with minors in political science and environmental studies.

Commencement will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 16, at the college. Macalester will be streaming commencement at  Check back for updates.

“Walter Mondale is a legend in the state of Minnesota and someone we cherish here at Macalester College,” said President Brian Rosenberg. “This year’s seniors are fortunate to have the former Vice President as their speaker. He truly is the embodiment of thoughtful, humane, and selfless service to others.”

Walter F. Mondale’s record of public service includes Vice President of the United States, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, U.S. Senator, and Attorney General for the State of Minnesota. He was also the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 1984. He is currently Senior Counsel with the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP, headquartered in Minneapolis with 20 offices worldwide.

After he helped manage Hubert H. Humphrey’s first successful U.S. Senate campaign in 1948, he earned his BA in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1951 having spent his first two and one half years at Macalester College. After completing service as a corporal in the U.S. Army, Mondale received his LLB (cum laude) from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1956, having served on the law review, and as a law clerk in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

In 1964, Governor Karl Rolvaag asked him to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy created by Hubert Humphrey’s election to the Vice Presidency. The voters of Minnesota returned Mondale to the Senate in 1966 and 1972.

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale were elected President and Vice President of the United States on November 2, 1976. On the President’s behalf, Mondale traveled extensively throughout the country and the world advocating U.S. policy. He played a central role in Carter Administration policy of expanding commercial ties between the United States and China. He was the first Vice President to have an office in the White House, and he served as a full-time participant, advisor, and troubleshooter for the administration. During this period, Joan Mondale served as a national advocate for the arts and was Honorary Chairman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

In 1984, Mondale was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States. Following that election, Mondale practiced law, taught, studied, traveled, and served as a director of both non-profit and corporate boards. He returned to his native Minnesota in 1987, where he practiced law with the firm of Dorsey & Whitney until President Clinton nominated him to be the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

Mondale served as Ambassador to Japan from August 13, 1993, to December 15, 1996. Since returning from Japan, Mondale has become a director of several non-profit and corporate boards. He is the chair of The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. He also co-teaches a class at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota on the study of governance and politics.

Before his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Walter Mondale was a Distinguished University Fellow in Law and Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. In 1990, he established the Mondale Policy Forum at the Humphrey Institute to bring together leading scholars and policymakers for conferences on domestic and international issues.

Mondale was married to the former Joan Adams for 58 years before she passed away in February 2014. She graduated from Macalester in 1952 and was a lifelong Macalester supporter. Last year, the new Studio Art building was renamed the Joan Adams Mondale Hall of Studio Art.  The Mondales have three children, Theodore, Eleanor Jane (deceased) and William. They also have four grandchildren.

Mondale has authored two books The Accountability of Power: Toward a Responsible Presidency and The Good Fight:  A Life in Liberal Politics and has written numerous articles on domestic and international issues.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are retiring faculty members Franklin H. Adler, Paula M. Cooey and David A. Lanegran ’63.

Franklin H. Adler, G. Theodore Mitau Professor of Political Science
Adler has taught political science at Macalester for nearly 20 years and played a pivotal role in shaping students’ knowledge and exploration of political science. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College and a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Chicago, Adler began his teaching career back at Antioch. After 21 years at Antioch, he came to Macalester 19 years ago to lead the political science department as its new chair with a charge to build new momentum and consistency for the department’s faculty, students, and curriculum. He guided the department as chair until 2002 and in 2008, he was named G. Theodore Mitau Professor of Political Science. Adler’s teaching and scholarship focus on comparative politics, political sociology, and political and social theory and his current research focuses on Italian Jews and Fascism. He has published widely and is fluent in French and Italian. His service and leadership in the field of political science is extensive, including roles as long-term editor of the journal Telos, chair of the American Political Science Association’s standing committee on professional ethics, and for more than a decade, he served on the advisory committees for the University of Minnesota’s Italian Studies program and Center for German and European Studies. Adler has received numerous fellowships for research, from support as a Woodrow Wilson National Fellow to the Holocaust Educational Foundation.

Paula M. Cooey, Margaret Weyerhaeuser Harmon Professor of Religious Studies
Cooey has taught for over 16 years at Macalester. She received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Georgia, and a master of theological studies and a PhD from Harvard University. Before coming to St. Paul, she taught at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, for 18 years and joined the Macalester Religious Studies Department in 1999. In the classroom, she was an exacting teacher who kept students on their toes and challenged them to rise to her high expectations. Known for her weekly writing assignments, Cooey worked tirelessly to provide thoughtful feedback for each paper. Her areas of expertise include religion and culture, feminist theory and theology, and comparative ethics, among others. She has published six books and more than two dozen articles, as well as dozens of presented papers and endowed lectures. Over the course of her career, she traveled around the world, receiving grant support for research in countries including Morocco, Spain, Turkey, and China. Her time in Turkey and Italy in particular shaped her perspective and her work.

David A. Lanegran ’63, John S. Holl Professor of Geography
Lanegran graduated from Macalester in 1963, earned his PhD at the University of Minnesota, and then returned to Macalester to teach and shape what has grown into one of the country’s most vibrant geography departments at a liberal arts college.  In 46 years, thousands of students have passed through his classroom and learned how to apply geography to daily life. He received several tributes for his teaching, including Macalester’s Thomas Jefferson Award, and wrote a series of books and reports that helped revitalize several Twin Cities neighborhoods and commercial streets. He led the restoration of St. Paul’s historic Landmark Center, championed geography education in Minnesota, served on Department of Education committees, and developed a K–12 geography curriculum. He received grant support to conduct fieldwork in 15 countries, served on the boards of many professional organizations, received the highest award given by both the National Council for Geographic Education and the Association for American Geographers, and has been honored as an engaged Macalester alumnus, receiving the college’s Alumni Service Award in 2008 and Distinguished Citizen Award in 2014.

Commencement ceremonies will include an academic procession led by the Macalester Pipe Band, flag bearers representing 34 countries of the 62 graduating international seniors plus the U.S. and U.N. flags, faculty in academic robes and the 443 seniors.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,045 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

May 1 2015

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