Kenneth H. Bacon '66

Doctor of Humane Letters

As Pentagon spokesman, your believable, bow-tied presence on television day after day brought us the official news from wartime Kosovo. Despite the uncertainties of mounting a joint military effort in the face of "ethnic cleansing," you never flinched from the barrage of reporters' tough questions, rarely resorted to bureaucratic evasions, but made occasional, pointed use of what one colleague describes as your almost impish humor. Your work as Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs lent a lucid, complex voice to the military establishment.

As a former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor, you never lost your commitment to the First Amendment. On a visit to a Russian nuclear submarine base, you stood outside the reporters' bus arguing and gesticulating until the reluctant Russians allowed the working press inside.

Your Pentagon work drew on your wide experience covering international news of defense, banking, finance and economics. In your ability to absorb and sort huge quantities of detail, you drew likewise on your education as an English major in Amherst's class of 1966, and on your Columbia graduate degrees in journalism and business. In the midst of a busy career you have served your College ably and generously as an Alumni Trustee and as a Trustee of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Upon leaving the Pentagon, rather than using your contacts and experience for personal gain, you have chosen to help alleviate the human suffering you witnessed first-hand. As the new president and CEO of Refugees International, you are "giving back" to the people whose plight you often saw in your military travels—the desperate victims of war, famine, and other disasters.

Your alma mater salutes you for your record of exemplary public service, for your commitment to speaking the truth, and for your new role as a compelling voice for the voiceless.

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