USAID Administrator Shah Delivers Commencement Address at Colby College and Receives Honorary Degree

For Immediate Release

Sunday, May 22, 2011
USAID Press Office


WATERVILLE, MAINE - This morning, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah delivered the Commencement address at Colby College, in Waterville, Maine. The graduating class invited Dr. Shah to deliver the keynote speech. During the College's 190th commencement ceremonies, Shah also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

During the ceremonies, Shah focused on addressing the College's diverse and international student body, sharing the idea that today's young people can contribute to the cause of development like never before. "By bringing together a variety of skills - whether you're a pre-med or a history major, an engineer or an economist, a statistician or a sociologist - you can play your part in the next great opportunity to improve human welfare," Shah said. "Today, any career or skill can be put in service of those in need."

At the Commencement, Administrator Shah received honorary degrees with four other recipients: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, sociologist and pioneering African-American studies professor Adelaide Cromwell, Cianbro CEO Peter G. Vigue, and philanthropist Bernard Osher.

Colby College is a private liberal arts college with a diverse student body. Of the roughly 1,800 students enrolled at the College, 45 states and 65 countries are represented, and more than two-thirds study abroad during their academic career. In addition, many Colby graduates go on to pursue careers in public service through the Peace Corps and Teach For America. The College has consistently been ranked by the Peace Corps as one of the Top Ten schools in the nation (with less than 5,000 undergraduates) to produce volunteers.

Colby's student body has also been recognized for their humanitarian work. The Iraqi Refugee Awareness Movement (IRAM) aims to spread awareness of the crisis afflicting Iraqi Refugees displaced within Iraq and around the world. Another student-run organization, LuziCare, works to provide care to people living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi.

For more information about USAID and its programs around the world, please visit

Last updated: January 28, 2015

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