Speakers for Colgate Commencement Skip Navigation

2014 Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

Gloria Borger ’74, P’10, chief political analyst for CNN, will deliver the keynote address at this year's commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 18, 2014.

Commencement Speaker: Gloria Borger ’74, P’10

Gloria Borger '74, P'10Gloria Borger ’74, P’10, chief political analyst for CNN and a member of the first coeducational class to graduate from Colgate, will deliver the keynote address at Colgate’s 193rd commencement on Sunday, May 18, in Sanford Field House (schedule).

Borger is CNN’s chief political analyst, appearing daily on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, The Lead with Jake Tapper, and across CNN’s prime time programs. Since joining the network in 2007, she has reported on a variety of political and breaking news topics ranging from the death of Osama bin Laden the 2013 government shutdown. She was a prominent analyst during CNN’s election night coverage. She writes a regular column for CNN.com.

Borger began her career as a reporter at the Washington Star. Over the next three decades, she served as a political columnist for U.S. News & World Report, chief congressional correspondent for Newsweek, co-anchor of CNBC’s Capitol Report, and national political correspondent for CBS News, where she also contributed to CBS’s Face the Nation, 60 Minutes II, and the network’s special events coverage.

At Colgate, Borger earned a BA in English, served as editor-in-chief of the Maroon, and received a Watson Fellowship. She has been dedicated to Colgate ever since, serving on the Board of Trustees from 1992–2001, and inspiring students with her keynote appearances at events such as Real World in 2006, which she delivered with her husband Lance Morgan ’72.

Baccalaureate Speaker: Fr. George Coyne SJ

Fr. George Coyne SJFr. George Coyne SJ is McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. A renowned Jesuit priest, astronomer, and director emeritus of the Vatican Observatory, Fr. Coyne bridges the worlds of faith and science.

He holds a BA in mathematics and licentiate in philosophy, both from Fordham University, and a PhD in astronomy from Georgetown University. He is author of Wayfarers in the Cosmos: The Human Quest for Meaning (2002), and coauthor of A Comprehensible Universe: The Interplay of Science and Theology (2008).

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Honorary Degree Recipients

Both Borger and Coyne will receive honorary degrees during commencement. The other honorary degree recipients will be:
  • George Avakian, music historian and innovator in the jazz recording industry — Avakian, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, is credited with producing the first jazz album, revitalizing the careers of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and forming Warner Bros. Records. He is a founding member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010 he received the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Mark Golden, CEO of Golden Artist Colors in New Berlin, N.Y. — Golden, who began making paint in his barn 30 years ago, is now an advocate of responsible business initiatives and strong supporter of his local community. In 1996 he received the Small Business Person of the Year Award from the United States Small Business Administration. In 2010, he offered a stock plan that allowed employees to become the major shareholders, and in 2011, started the Golden Foundation Artist Residency.

  • Lorie Slutsky ’75, president of the New York Community Trust — Since joining in 1977 as a grant maker, Slutsky has stewarded the organization’s more than $2 billion in assets and 2,000 charitable funds. She has served as its president since 1990 and, among her many accomplishments, fostered the establishment of the September 11th Fund. She majored in political science at Colgate. She served for nine years as a trustee, chairing the board’s budget committee. She was also vice chair of Campaign Colgate from 1993–1998. She holds an MA from The New School for Social Research, where she also was a trustee.