Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III To Deliver Mount Ida College Commencement Address

April 2, 2014, Newton, MA – Mount Ida College is pleased to announce that U.S Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, a first-term congressman from the 4th District of Massachusetts, will deliver the commencement address to Mount Ida College’s Class of 2014 on Friday, May 16, 2014. For details about commencement, visit the commencement section of our website.

“Congressman Kennedy has dedicated his career to public service,” stated Barry Brown, President of Mount Ida College. “His distinguished background and steadfast commitment to social justice and economic equality will be an inspiration to our graduates. We are honored to have him join us.”

Prior to seeking elected office, Kennedy served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Assistant District Attorney in both the Middlesex County and the Cape and Islands’ District Attorneys’ offices.


A graduate of Harvard Law School, he was an active member of the school’s Legal Aid Bureau, a pro-bono law firm that provided legal services to low-income families in the Boston area. During that time, Kennedy and his wife Lauren co-founded an afterschool program for at-risk youth in the Boston area. Kennedy earned an undergraduate degree in management science and engineering in 2003 from Stanford University.

After graduation, he served as a member of the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic where he worked on economic development and community reinvestment in an isolated community near Puerto Plata. Kennedy also worked as an international development analyst for the United Nations’ Millennium Project and as an anti-poverty consultant abroad.

In addition to Congressman Kennedy, Mount Ida will award honorary degrees to the following recipients: Sarah-Ann Shaw, Broadcast Journalist and Steven H. Wright, Executive Partner of Holland & Knight.

About Sarah-Ann Shaw

Sarah-Ann Shaw is Boston’s first African American woman television reporter and a prominent civil rights activist. Shaw was a reporter for WBZ-TV for 31 years, from 1969 until 2000. During her tenure at WBZ-TV, she covered a wide array of daily news stories, including a groundbreaking report on minority achievement. An advocate for civil rights since her teens, Shaw has held leadership positions at several Boston-based community organizations.


Her role as the director of the Northern Student Movement, a civil rights group that recruited hundreds of college students as volunteer tutors for Boston Public School students, holds particular historical significance. Recognized nationally for both her trailblazing journalism and community activism, Shaw’s numerous awards include: The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Black Journalists and a Local Hero Award from the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Integrating of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Yankee Quill Award from the Academy of New England Journalists, the Abigail Adams Award from the Massachusetts Political Caucus, Heroes Among Us Award from The Boston Globe, Fox Sports Network and Boston Celtics and the Unsung Heroes Award from Berklee College of Music, and many more.

Today, Shaw serves on the board of several non-profit organizations in the Greater Boston area, including the Boston Neighborhood Network, League of Women for Community Service, the Massachusetts State Democratic Committee, the Ward 12 Democratic Committee and the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

About Steven H. Wright

Steve H. Wright is the executive partner overseeing the management of Holland & Knight’s Boston office. Wright serves as lead counsel and strategic advisor for several Fortune 500 companies, representing senior in-house counsel and corporate executives in complex commercial, corporate, intellectual property, litigation and regulatory matters. Wright was appointed deputy counsel to the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York where he resolved legal and policy issues for the Mayor and his Executive Cabinet.


Wright worked as deputy chief of the Civil Litigation Bureau of the Massachusetts Department of Attorney General and chief of its Trial Division. He also serves on a number of boards. He was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as chairman of the Savings Bank Life Insurance Company’s Policyholder’s Protective Board, and is now a director and member of its Executive and Investment Committees. He is a director of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. He also was a member of Mayor Menino’s Economic Advisory Board.

During his career, he has received a number of awards and recognitions for his work. He was designated one of the Power 50 Most Influential Bostonians in the 2012 Boston Business Journal, and noted for Excellence in the Law/Diversity Hero by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 2011. He was named an Outstanding African-American Role Model by Boston Renaissance School, 2010; and named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer by Boston Magazine, Business/Corporate, 2004, 2010-2013.

Wright received his J.D. from Boston College Law School and his B.S. in Business Administration from East Carolina University, the Outstanding Alumni Award, 2011; and member of Phi Kappa Phi.

About Commencement

Events for Mount Ida College’s 115th Commencement exercises will be held on Friday, May 16, 2014. The ceremony, which will feature Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III delivering the keynote address, will take place at 11:00 a.m. on the Lower Athletic Field. Approximately 250 graduates will receive their degrees during the ceremony. For more information regarding commencement events, please visit

About Mount Ida College

Founded in 1899, Mount Ida College is a small, private college in Newton, Massachusetts that provides career-focused programs built upon a strong foundation of social sciences, humanities, and the arts—all to prepare our students for achievement in their chosen careers, and in life. With a tight-knit, inclusive community, a diverse student body, winning NCAA Division III sports teams, a beautiful and safe suburban campus, and a vibrant school spirit, Mount Ida is the place where students become the best version of themselves. To learn more, visit the College’s website at