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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (May 8, 2018) – Pine Manor College will honor two distinguished individuals with honorary degrees at its 107th Commencement on May 20, 2018.  Former Massachusetts Governor, Michael S. Dukakis, and author and activist, Renée Watson, will each receive honorary degrees.


Governor Michael S. Dukakis, Doctor of Laws

Gov. Michael S. Dukakis was the three-term governor of Massachusetts (1975-1979, 1983-1991), and the 1988 Democratic nominee for president of the United States.  Gov. Dukakis is a life-long Brookline resident and a long-time friend of the college. He has dedicated his life to public service and to inspiring young people to get involved in the democratic process.  

As a strong supporter of Pine Manor College’s mission and its uniquely diverse student population, President Thomas M. O’Reilly remarked: “Gov. Dukakis embodies a commitment to community and community building which is at the core of Pine Manor College.  Our pursuit of ‘Educating with Purpose’ resonates with Gov. Dukakis and his work as an educator and public servant.  He has made a life-long commitment of service to the people of Brookline, Massachusetts, and the United States.”  Gov. Dukakis follows in the footsteps of his late mother, Euterpe Boukis Dukakis, who accepted an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pine Manor College in 1993. 

Renée Watson, Doctor of Letters

Renowned author, activist, and educator, Renée Watson, will be awarded an honorary degree from Pine Manor College.  Watson, a New York Times bestselling author, has dedicated much of her work to social justice through her writing and her work as a community organizer. Her young-adult novel Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Award and a Newbery Honor. 

In the summer of 2016, Watson launched the I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to raise funds to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived and wrote during the last twenty years of his life; the house is now the home of the I, Too, Collective. 

Watson is a Pine Manor College Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program faculty member, teaching Writing for Young People.  “Renée Watson is known by students and fellow mentors alike for her generous spirit, brilliant teaching methods, and support of emerging writers,” said Meg Kearney, Director of the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing.   

About Pine Manor College

Pine Manor College (PMC) is a small, private, four-year liberal arts college dedicated to the mission of ‘Educating with Purpose.’ The College’s student population is comprised of 85% students of color and 84% are first in their families to attend college. The College focuses on pathways to careers through internships, organizational partnerships, and academic programs. As a result, 100% of PMC’s 2016 and 2017 graduates were either employed or pursuing post-degree programs within six months of graduation.

Contact Efrat Zinnar-Shavit
Director of Media and Publications




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