Robin Roberts to give Commencement undergrad address

April 23, 2015

On Monday, May 18, Emerson College will award four honorary degrees during the College’s 135th Commencement ceremonies at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, Boston. The undergraduate commencement ceremony will begin at 10:00 am, followed by the graduate commencement ceremony at 3:00 pm.  Both ceremonies will be streamed live at

Robin Roberts, co-host of ABC's Good Morning America, will provide the undergraduate address. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Emerson College Professor Megan Marshall will provide the graduate address.

Roberts will receive Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees during the ceremony, along with Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, arts leader Anne Hawley, and Paralympic medalist and marathon winner Cheri Blauwet, MD.

Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts, co-anchor of Good Morning America, will provide the undergraduate address at Emerson's 135th Commencement on May 18.

Robin Roberts co-anchors ABC’s Good Morning America, which under her leadership has won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning Program. Her career in national broadcasting began in sports, reporting for ESPN. She is also known for her extensive reporting around the globe: traveling to Brussels with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; to Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake; to South Africa to report on the World Cup; and to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, where she was greeted by Pope Francis. Additionally, she has hosted annual special broadcasts including ABC’s Oscar pre-show, reporting live from the Academy Awards. In June 2007, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. Five years later, she was faced with another health battle when diagnosed with MDS or myelodysplastic syndrome, for which she underwent a bone marrow transplant. She became an advocate to inform the public about the need for more donors, and since her diagnosis more than 56,000 people have joined the registry. Roberts made a triumphant return to the anchor desk in 2013. In 2014, she was honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, and named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year. She has also been on The Hollywood Reporter’s New York Power List multiple times. She was voted the “Most Trusted Person on Television” by a Reader’s Digest poll in 2013.

BlauwetCheri Blauwet, MD, is Board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation as well as sports medicine. She is a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and an instructor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Additionally, Blauwet is a former Paralympic athlete in the sport of wheelchair racing. She competed for the United States team in three Paralympic Games (Sydney ’00, Athens ’04, Beijing ’08) and brought home a total of seven Paralympic medals. She is also a two-time winner of both the Boston and New York City marathons, and has been nominated for the ESPY Award, the Laureus World Sports Award, and Women's Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year. She is the chairperson of the International Paralympic Committee’s Medical Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the Neilsen Foundation Quality of Life Grant Review Board, and the Board for Boston 2024.

TretheweyNatasha Tretheway served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012–2014). She is the author of four collections of poetry: Thrall (2012); Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000). Domestic Work was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her book of nonfiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, was released in 2010. Tretheway is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. At Emory University, she is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and in 2013 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

HawleyAnne Hawley is an arts leader who transformed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum into a vital cultural resource for artists, musicians, scholars, visitors, and the greater Boston community. Earlier this year, Hawley announced her resignation after 25 years at the helm of one of the most unique museums in the world. She very successfully led the comprehensive planning, design, and $180 million capital campaign for the Gardner Museum's new wing designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, which opened in January 2012. Under Hawley's leadership, the legacy of the museum's founder—to explore and promote new ideas and thinking across all the arts—includes the celebrated artist-in-residence program, now in its 23rd year; the popular classical music Sunday Concerts; scholarly historic exhibitions and symposia; contemporary exhibitions; school and community partnerships; and a wide array of public and family programs. The Landscape program, the only one of its kind in a U.S. museum, explores challenges to the urban landscape and opportunities for landscape as a medium of design for the social, cultural, and ecological life of the city. Early in her career, Hawley founded the Cultural Education Collaborative, an organization dedicated to stimulating arts public policy and arts education. She has also served as executive director of the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Megan MarshallMegan Marshall is the author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in biography and the 2014 Massachusetts Book Award in nonfiction. She was recently named the first Charles Wesley Professor at Emerson College, where she teaches in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department. She is currently the 2014­­–2015 Gilder Lehrman Fellow at the New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. A member of the American Heritage Dictionary’s Usage Panel, Marshall has published numerous essays and reviews in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate Online, The New York Times Book Review, The London Review of Books, The New Republic, The Boston Review, and elsewhere. Her biography The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism (Houghton Mifflin, 2005; Mariner Books, 2006) won the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians; the Mark Lynton History Prize, awarded by the Anthony Lukas Prize Project jointly sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard’s Nieman Foundation; the Massachusetts Book Award in nonfiction; and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography and memoir in 2006. Marshall has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She was awarded the first Outstanding Teacher Award presented by Emerson’s Graduate Student Association in 2012.

Roberts, Blauwet, Tretheway, and Hawley will each receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the 135th annual undergraduate ceremony beginning at 10:00 am, with approximately 970 undergraduates. Roberts will give the undergraduate address. The graduate ceremony starts at 3:00 pm, with approximately 350 graduate students. Marshall will give the graduate address.

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson is the only four-year private college in the United States devoted to teaching communication and the arts in a liberal arts context. The College has 3,750 undergraduates and 750 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups, 14 NCAA teams, student publications, honor societies, television stations including the Emerson Channel, and WERS-FM, the nation’s highest rated student-run radio station. Emerson is internationally known for its study and internship programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, China, and the Czech Republic. A new permanent facility on Sunset Boulevard for its LA-based program opened officially in March 2014. For more information, visit