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Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), will be the speaker for Old Dominion University's morning commencement ceremony May 5 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Speaking to graduates at the afternoon ceremony will be R. Brooks Hanson, deputy editor for the physical sciences at Science magazine, which is regarded as the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news and commentary.

The morning ceremony, for graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Technology and Health Sciences, will begin at 9 a.m. Exercises for graduates from the colleges of Business and Public Administration, Education and Sciences begin at 2 p.m.

Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans her entire professional life. Under her leadership, the CDF has become the nation's strongest voice for children and families. Its mission is to "Leave No Child Behind" and to ensure every child "a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start" in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman 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, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign, which Martin Luther King Jr. had begun to organize. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the CDF. For two years she served as the director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in 1973 founded the CDF.

Edelman has received more than 100 honorary degrees and awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings, which include eight books.

Among them are "Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change," "The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours" and "I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children."

In his role as deputy editor at Science magazine, Hanson oversees the recruitment and management of all scholarly articles within the broad area of physical sciences, supervising more than a dozen staff members to ensure timely coverage of all disciplinary developments, both in original research and in the journal's commentary sections.

Hanson works closely with the editor-in-chief and executive editor to develop and implement policies and procedural changes, and interacts with scientists around the world to stay abreast of current developments and recruit research and review papers.

He has been with the magazine since 1987, and was named to his current position in 1998. He is a past president of the Geological Society of Washington.

Hanson earned a bachelor's degree in geology from Bucknell University and a doctorate in geology from the University of California at Los Angeles. His areas of interest include Earth and planetary science, paleontology, anthropology, archaeology, numerical modeling, science policy and social science.

This article was posted on: April 24, 2007

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