Apr 12, 2021
Dmitriy Ivanov

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post Columnist George F. Will to Deliver 2021 Commencement Address

Pulitzer Prize-winning and nationally syndicated Washington Post columnist George F. Will will deliver the Commencement address during Assumption University’s 104th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 9 at 10 a.m. at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester.  Will and Vincent Strully, Jr., founder and CEO of the New England Center for Children, will receive honorary degrees during the ceremony.  

Will is a veteran journalist with more than 40 years of experience. His newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974, and appears twice a week in more than 440 newspapers. He also serves as a regular contributor to MSNBC and NBC News. Will previously served as the Washington editor of National Review magazine (1973-76) before becoming a regular contributing editor of Newsweek magazine (1976-2011). In 1981, Will was a founding panel member on ABC’s This Week and spent over three decades providing regular commentary. He subsequently spent three years with Fox News, where he appeared regularly on Special Report and Fox News Sunday. Will was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in his newspaper columns in 1977. 

“Assumption University is honored to welcome George Will as our Commencement speaker as his extensive career and knowledge will serve as an inspirational example to the graduates of the Class of 2021,” said Assumption University President Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D. “His insight is valued nationally among readers and his colleagues, and widely respected by a number of national publications and networks, many of which rely on his expertise for their reporting. Mr. Will’s appreciation of the intrinsic link between thought and action, and Mr. Strully’s dedication to serving those in the autism community, in which he has dedicated the last 45 years advocating and working for both children and adults with autism and related disorders. Mr. Will’s and Mr. Strully’s commitment to bettering the communities in which they live are valuable examples our graduates will find useful and motivational as they embark on their own journeys of finding a life and vocation of meaning as thoughtful, compassionate citizens.”

Will is a member of the advisory board of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Center for Scholarship and Statesmanship at Assumption University, which was established in 2018 to cultivate thoughtful citizens who are inspired by the late senator’s example to appreciate the link between ideas and action. Will, who was a friend of the late Senator Moynihan, called him “the most accomplished intellectual in 20th-century American politics” who “gave to our democracy the inestimable gift of a good example — of brave and clear thinking amid the tumults of democracy.”

Will has published many books, including his most recent work, The Conservative Sensibility (2019). Altogether, eight collections of Will’s Newsweek and Washington Post columns have been published, the most recent being One Man’s America: The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation (2008).  He has published three books on political theory: Statecraft as Soulcraft: What Government Does (1983), The New Season: A Spectator’s Guide to the 1988 Election (1987), and Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and The Recovery of Deliberative Democracy (1992). Will has also written extensively on the sport of baseball; his 1990 book, Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball, topped The New York Times bestseller list for two months; in 1998 he released Bunts: Curt Flood, Camden Yards, Pete Rose and Other Reflections on Baseball, a best-selling collection of his previously published as well as new writings on baseball; and in 2014 he published A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred. In July 2000, Will was a member of Major League Baseball’s Blue Ribbon Panel, examining baseball economics.

Will holds degrees from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, Oxford University, and Princeton University, where he earned his Ph.D. and later served as a trustee.  He has taught political philosophy at Michigan State University, the University of Toronto, and Harvard University.   Will served as a staff member in the United States Senate from 1970-72 and lives and works in the Washington, D.C., area.

Vincent Strully, Jr., Founder and CEO New England Center for Children

Strully is the founder and chief executive officer of The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), an internationally recognized leader in autism intervention, research, and professional development. As CEO, Strully directs all aspects of clinical and financial administration, program development, fundraising, facility design, and strategic planning.  He has over 45 years of experience working with children and adults with autism and related disorders.   

In 2007, NECC signed a long-term agreement with The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi to create a comprehensive center in the United Arab Emirates. NECC programs directly impact more than 8,000 students with autism in 34 states and 15 countries. NECC researchers have published over 300 studies in peer-reviewed academic journals. Since 1987, more than 1,500 NECC employees have completed a master’s degree in one of the on-site programs funded by the Center.

Strully was named Ernst & Young’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year® for New England in 2007 and the Nonprofit Business Leader of the Year award from Worcester Business Journal in 2017. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Western New England University in 2009. 

The University’s plans for the Commencement have been reviewed and approved by the Worcester Department of Public Health. All Commonwealth COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols will be enforced by DCU Center staff. Should the public health situation decline in the coming weeks, the University will comply with any recommendations by the Worcester Department of Public Health and transition to a virtual ceremony, if necessary.