Distributed May 14, 2002
News Service Contact: Scott Turner
The 234th Commencement
Marian Wright Edelman to speak at Medical School Convocation
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, will speak at the Brown Medical School Commencement Convocation Monday, May 27, in the First Unitarian Church of Providence. Medical graduates will also hear talks by James McIlwain, M.D., the Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, and Robert Wolf, a member of the graduating class. The convocation will begin at 8:45 a.m.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund will present an address titled “It’s Time to Leave No Child Behind,” during the Brown Medical School Commencement Convocation, Monday, May 27, 2002, in the First Unitarian Church of Providence, corner of Benefit and Benevolent streets. The two-hour convocation will begin at 8:45 a.m.
Medical graduates will also hear addresses from James McIlwain, M.D., the Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, and Robert Wolf, a member of the graduating class.
Edelman has devoted her professional career to advocating for disadvantaged Americans. Under her leadership the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) became a leading voice for the nation’s children and families. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, she began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. In 1968, Edelman moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign.
Edelman founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of CDF. For two years, she directed the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University. In 1973 she started CDF.
Former chair of the Board of Trustees of Spelman College, Edelman was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation. Her honors include the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Author of five books, she received the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings.
James McIlwain, M.D.
McIlwain will deliver the faculty address. His talk is titled “Words that Bind.” Known among students as an extraordinary educator, McIlwain has been selected five times by students to receive a Faculty Award for Teaching. Two years ago, he received the Medical School Senior Citation, which is the highest award presented by the medical student body during the Medical School Commencement. Since joining the faculty in 1971, McIlwain has taught and advised medical students, undergraduates and graduate students. He is a specialist in the anatomy and physiology of nervous systems.
Robert Wolf, M.D. ’02
Wolf’s talk is titled “Where We Are Now.” He received his undergraduate education with honors at the University of Florida in psychology and Jewish studies and a master’s degree in education psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Wolf completed his premedical requirements as part of the Bryn Mawr College post-baccalaureate premedical program and entered the Brown Medical School in 1998. In June he will begin a residency in family medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.