Distributed May 2, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Kristen Cole

Commencement orators

Two seniors chosen to deliver parting words to Class of 2000

Eirene Donohue of Barrington, R.I., and Joseph Edmonds Jr. of Baltimore, Md., will deliver speeches during Brown’s 232nd Commencement, Monday, May 29, 2000, at 10:15 a.m. in the First Baptist Meeting House.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. —Following a longstanding tradition, two members of the Class of 2000 will be the primary speakers during undergraduate Commencement ceremonies. Eirene Donohue of Barrington, R.I., and Joseph Edmonds Jr., of Baltimore, Md., will deliver senior orations Monday, May 29, at 10:15 a.m., in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church of America.

The pair was chosen from a pool of more than 60 applicants by a committee of faculty and students, to address a packed audience of undergraduate classmates, honorary degree recipients and their own parents.

Because the Meeting House is limited in size, the orations will be simulcast to The College Green, where parents, friends and guests of the University can gather. In case of rain, the simulcast will be offered in the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on The College Green.

Since Brown’s earliest days, graduating seniors have been the principal speakers at Commencement. At first, the entire class participated; for the 1888 Commencement, the number of orations was limited to 10. All student orations are kept in the University archives.

Eirene Donohue

Donohue, 22, will address the question of how to tell a “true” college story in her speech. She based the idea for her oration on a chapter in a book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, a collection of interrelated short pieces about Vietnam. One of O’Brien’s chapters addresses how to tell a true war story. Donohue will discuss where the truth lies in stories about college.

At Brown, Donohue concentrated in Latin American history. Outside the classroom, she volunteered as a tutor of eighth-grade students for whom English is a second language. She participated in the Brown Organization of Multiracial and Biracial Students (BOMBS) and a Latino dance club. Donohue also frequently performed with her sister’s modern dance company, inmixedcompany.

After graduation, Donohue plans to travel around the country and write creative non-fiction and screenplays. She is the daughter of Mai and Brian Donohue of Barrington, R.I.

Joseph Edmonds Jr.

Edmonds, 22, will speak about remembrance, reconciliation and revolution. Only when we reach down and back to the places that have hurt, taught, and transformed us can we begin to participate productively in a community where the stories of the less privileged are often silenced and ignored, he said.

Edmonds concentrated in religious studies and economics. As a Mellon Fellow, he received a two-year fellowship to research the work of urban churches in economic development. His work focused on churches in three urban centers: Baltimore, Boston and New York.

While at Brown, Edmonds also served as a minority peer counselor. During his junior year, he studied abroad at the University of Natal in South Africa.

Edmonds has been accepted at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, but will put that plan on hold to remain in Providence for a year and volunteer with the Brown Christian Fellowship. He is the son of Gail and Joseph Edmonds of Baltimore.