With your having attended as a teenager the Williamstown-based orientation for the national academic talent program A Better Chance and latterly taking up residence here in the Berkshires, we take neighborly pride in all that you accomplished in between. This includes your work at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on the death penalty and voting rights. It includes your service as U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in addressing racial profiling, police misconduct, fair lending, and human trafficking. It includes your successful argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. And it includes your experience at the highest levels of corporate law. After all of this, and against considerable odds, you won election as the seventy-first governor of Massachusetts, the first to be an African American and one of the few to understand that the state’s western border does not fall just beyond Worcester. Through two terms you guided the state’s response to the worst recession in memory and brought about reforms in transportation, education, and ethics. Your life’s work has been to extend a better chance to all those who otherwise would not have one—work animated by your belief that “each of us, from the mightiest to the meekest, has the capacity to teach, inspire, and ennoble.”
I hereby declare you recipient of the honorary degree Doctor of Laws, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.
June 7, 2015