Graduation speakers selected
By Katherine Jackson
The University has announced the speakers for Finals Weekend 2005. Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind will give the Valedictory address on May 21. Dr. Vivian W. Pinn, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health, will be the commencement speaker at Final Exercises on May 22. In the 176-year history of U.Va.’s commencement, Pinn will be the first African-American female speaker.
Suskind graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1981. He is the author of “A Hope in the Unseen, An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League.” The book was launched by a series in the Wall Street Journal and won him the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
His latest book, “The Price of Loyalty, George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of
Paul O’Neill,” is a sweeping tour of the inner workings of the Bush administration. A New York Times No. 1 best seller, it follows the two-year career arc of Paul O’Neill, the former treasury secretary and a principal of the National Security Council.
From 1993 to 2000, Suskind was the senior national affairs writer for the Wall Street Journal. He was a contributor to “Profiles in Courage for Our Times,” (Hyperion, 2002). He currently writes for various national magazines, including the New York Times Magazine and Esquire Magazine. Suskind describes his Oct. 17 cover story in the New York Times Magazine, “Without a Doubt: Faith, Certainty, and the Presidency of George W. Bush,” as the most definitive article about President Bush in recent times.
Pinn, a 1967 graduate of the University’s School of Medicine, was the only woman and minority student in her class. With a long list of firsts behind her name, Pinn became the first full-time director of ORWH in 1991. As director of the federal agency that funds medical and scientific research, she manages a division that seeks to improve the health of women through research. The office also encourages and supports leadership development among women in medicine and other sciences.
Born in Halifax, Va., in 1941, she is the daughter and granddaughter of teachers. She was an academic standout, who attended segregated public schools and won a scholarship to Wellesley College, a women’s liberal arts college in Massachusetts.