Mexico President to address Stanford grads

University names lineup for 2011 Commencement Weekend

Mexico President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa will be the speaker at Stanford University's 120th commencement June 12, the university said today (Jan. 18).

Also highlighting commencement weekend will be Class Day speaker Rob Reich, a Stanford political theorist and former sixth grade teacher; and Baccalaureate speaker Gail E. Bowman, chaplain at Dillard University in New Orleans.

Calderon, elected in 2006 to a six-year term, "is committed to finding solutions to a number of national and global problems, ranging from combating drug cartels to comprehensive immigration reform and arms control," Stanford President John Hennessy said.

"His views on a life devoted to solving pressing problems and to improving society will be particularly meaningful for our graduates, as will his experience leading a nation so vitally intertwined with the future of California and the United States."

Reich will address seniors, families and friends June 11 in a 30-year "Class Day" tradition of hearing a last lecture from a popular Stanford professor.

Author of "Bridging Liberalism and Multiculturalism in American Education," Reich said his main interests are in contemporary political theory. His two current book projects are on "ideals of equality and adequacy as applied to education policy and reform" and "topics in ethics, public policy and philosophy."

Reich is an associate professor of political science, also teaching in the department of philosophy and the School of Education. He is faculty director of the Program on Ethics in Society.

Bowman, a Harvard-trained lawyer who has been chaplain at Dillard since 1998, is a teacher as well as preacher and a member of the Louisiana Board of Ethics. She practiced law in Washington, D.C., including eight years with both the Senate and House judiciary committees, before enrolling in Howard University Divinity School.

Bowman coordinates programs funded by the Lilly Endowment designed to find creative ways to inspire student leadership development and spiritual expression.

"Rev. Bowman is widely known as an experienced university chaplain and accomplished preacher, with many of her sermons published in 'The African-American Pulpit,'" Scotty McLennan, Stanford's dean for religious life, said.

Stanford's four senior class co-presidents are heavily involved in selecting all three speakers for commencement weekend, a university spokeswoman said.

In the case of commencement ceremony speaker, the co-presidents submit a list to Hennessy, who then issues an invitation.

For the Class Day and Baccalaureate speakers the students work, respectively, through the Alumni Association and the Office for Religious Life.

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Like this comment
Posted by Arch Onservative
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 18, 2011 at 10:47 am

Can't wait to hear what El Presidente has to say about the US contributing so much to Mexico's problems of killings, drugs, kidnapping, corruption, illegal firearms (Mexico has some of the strictest "gun controls" in the world (DOES A LOT OF GOOD- RIGHT?) Imagine what the security provisions will be around the campus at Commenement time.

Like this comment
Posted by Greenmeadow Gal
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

Greenmeadow Gal is a registered user.

One would think President Calderon has enough problems at home to focus on and wouldn't take time away...another woman has been found murdered this week in Juarez...internationally renowned poet and activist Susana Chavez. She had been bravely speaking out against the murders of over 500 women in the Juarez area over the last decade, and for this she was tortured and suffocated. 92% of the murders are unsolved. This shameful record speaks volumes -- and certainly gives an idea of Calderon's priorities...

Like this comment
Posted by follow the money
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:45 am

The terrorists in Mexico are primarily funded by Americans.

Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

Are you kidding, one woman? I which. A big, big number of people have been assassinated and decapitated. Right now, Mexico is a terrible place to live. Every day some one dies. Including a number of teenagers who were at a party, and the cartels showed up and decided to kill all students, just to sent a message. The only message they are sending, is that Mexico is not a safe place to live or visit. No one can do anything about it. He should stay home and fix the problems. If he was a great person, the country people would not be dying. It reminds me of our Palo Alto Schools.

Like this comment
Posted by Expecting More
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Calderon is a bad choice for commencement speaker at a world class university--begging the question: "what are these student leaders thinking?"

Calderon is an a US Citizen. He has endorsed illegal immigration, and has publicly claimed that Mexicans "do nothing wrong" when they illegally enter the US. He has never publicly comments on these "immigrants" other illegal activities, such as purchasing false identify documents, and the high rate of crime attributed to "illegals".

Certainly having Calderon as a guest to discuss US/Mexican problems would be a nice thing--but what of the "Mexican Experience" can he bring to the party that would help Staford students build a better life for themselves and their children? (Remember, only about 30% of Mexicans actually graduate from high school.)

It's really difficult to have much respect for students who seem to want to flaunt their own heritage, elevating a "culture of failure" instead at one of the most important points of transition in their lives.

Sad .. really sad.

Like this comment
Posted by Expecting More
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Woops ..

Calderon is NOT a US Citizen

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I guess this is part of the "Adjusting America To Third World Status" program ??

It seems really baffling as to reasons and qualifications to have this guy addressing Stanford students. Or maybe they are going to off-shore Stanford University to Mexico where they can run it cheaper and will less government regulation?


Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I have to admit..I am completely and utterly baffled...there aren't good enough Americans for a speech to an American university's graduating class?

Like this comment
Posted by visitor 2
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Poor choice! Calderon is ineffective in crime control, education, & his views on comprehensive immigration reform require opening US borders to all the happy people who love Mexico so much they can't wait to leave it.

Like this comment
Posted by Opportunity
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Nice liberal university student body looking for every opportunity to bash America. Must have been inspired by Calderon's lecturing of US Congress on how US is not doing enough to help with the illegal immigrants. Watching all those clapping congressmen/women cheering him on brought tears (of shame) to my eyes.

Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm

It does seem he has lectured US politicians about how we - the US - should let in whomever from Mexico, open borders. I don't think this was a great choice of speaker.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

And Mexico's policies re their southern border/illegal immigrants from El Salvador are worse than those he rails upon of the US.

As for Stanford students selecting him for commencement-be very afraid for our future elections with young people of this mentality voting. Maybe time for renewed hero worship for Che.

Like this comment
Posted by ALVARO
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm

You said that Mexico is a terrible place to live ad every day someone apears dead, your are generalizating. I'been living trough 56 years and nothing has happening to me and people that I know for years. I like to live in Mexico!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm

What a shame. To go through Stanford and have the head of a corrupt government from a country with little to no human rights as your speaker. Must be heartbreaking.

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm



If Mexico is such a nice place, why are you here?

Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm

A very curious choice.

Like this comment
Posted by Incredulous
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 19, 2011 at 1:15 am

I have lived in Mexico City and loved it. I also have enormous respect for President Calderon and am glad to hear he will be speaking at Stanford's Commencement. But when Alvaro says he lives in Mexico, and that nothing [criminal] has happened to him or anyone he knows, it is very hard to believe. Impunity by the criminal classes is geographically and socially pervasive in Mexico -- a sad fact of life there since the 1990s.

1 person likes this
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 19, 2011 at 11:54 am

>> Nice liberal university student body looking for every opportunity to bash America.

If anything the Stanford University system has produced lately the most far-right wing people and those who justify and support them ... what is the purpose of that kind of comment anyway?

Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I'm glad to hear President Calderon will be speaking for the Stanford Commencement.

There are a lot of generalizations in the comments, as usual. I'm sure Calderon has never "endorsed" illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States. What he has said is that it's time for some sensible legislation on the topic. Instead, what we see are politicians using it as a "red meat" issue for the nativists among their constituents.

There are several reasons for so much violence in Mexico currently. One of them, of course, is that US citizens consume a lot of drugs - keeping the profit motive alive. Another is, of course, that the cartels buy an absurd amount of weaponry from US companies. These facts are not Felipe Calderon's fault.

Another reason for the exponential increase in violence is that Calderon, unlike most of his predecessors, has kept his promise to the Mexican people to go after the cartels. They've been pushing back, killing Federal drug enforcement officials, police chiefs, judges, etc.

Like this comment
Posted by Local gurl
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

What a joke.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm

How is it that when there is discussion of major consequences of crime affecting Mexico, the US is to blame for the drug wars because we are the biggest consumers, and we are also to blame for the massive arms proliferation because we are the biggest supplier. Do either of those really excuse the inability of Mexico to keep what is basically becoming a massive insurrection at an acceptable level?

I believe these are both claims previously made by Mr Calderon. I don't think he is very willing to accept responsibility for the causative actions within his own country committed by his own countrymen. What value is a man like this speaking to the Stanford class of 2011?

Like this comment
Posted by jairo
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 6:35 am

Even if Mexico were the US´s backyard (taking mexico as the worst). What is happening right now, some day, will affect the US so much that NO solution fill be found. And yes, you americans and we mexicans are no priority to your or our goverments.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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