Walter Mondale to speak at commencement


David Turner

Walter and Joan Mondale. Photo courtesy of Macalester.

Walter and Joan Mondale. Photo courtesy of Macalester.
Walter and Joan Mondale. Photo courtesy of Macalester.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale will deliver the commencement address at Macalester’s graduation ceremony this year. Mondale served as Vice President under Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. Before that time, he served as U.S. Senator from Minnesota for two terms between 1964 and 1976. Mondale ran for president in 1984, losing to incumbent President Ronald Reagan.

After Mondale’s electoral career ended, he performed diplomatic work for many years, working at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs from 1986 to 1993, and serving as Ambassador to Japan for three years afterwards. Mondale ran for Senate once more in 2002, to replace the late Senator Paul Wellstone, but lost.

Although Mondale did not graduate from Macalester, he studied here for two years before leaving to help out with Hubert Humphrey’s Senate campaign in 1948.

In 1955, Mondale married Joan Adams ’52, a Macalester Trustee and advocate for the arts. The studio art facilities at Macalester were named in her honor last year.

“Walter Mondale is a legend in the state of Minnesota and someone we cherish here at Macalester College,” President Brian Rosenberg said. “This year’s seniors are fortunate to have the former Vice President as their speaker. He truly is the embodiment of thoughtful, humane and selfless service to others.”

“We are fortunate that former Vice President Mondale agreed to speak at Commencement,” Vice President of Student Affairs Laurie Hamre said. “​Not only does he have national stature, but he is also a tremendous speaker. The Class of 2015 is assured to hear many wise messages during his address.”

Each year, the selection committee drafts a list of potential speakers and Mondale has been on that list for several years.

“It seemed the right year for Mr. Mondale to speak, given the recent honoring of his wife Joan by naming the studio arts building the Joan Adams Mondale Hall of Studio Art and also because of the new Joan Adams Mondale Endowed Scholarship that was recently awarded for the first time,” Hamre said.

A student speaker will be selected by the last week of March. Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015.