Westminster College Commencement Website
2010 Commencement Speaker

Westminster 2010 Honorary Doctorate Recipients:


Jim Leach - Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree Recipient:

Jim Leach began life as an academic: he graduated from Princeton University, received a Master of Arts degree in Soviet politics from the School of Advanced International Studies at The John Hopkins University and did additional graduate studies at the London School of Economics. He then entered politics and represented southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. While in Congress, he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus.

After leaving Congress, he returned to academia and joined the faculty at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, where he was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs. He also served as interim director of the Institute of Politics and lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In July of 2009, President Obama nominated him to serve as the ninth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was confirmed by the Senate and began his four-year term as NEH chairman on August 12, 2009.

During his visit to Utah, Chairman Leach will also be speaking at the Salt Lake City Library on May 27, 2010, as part of his national Civility tour and to commemorate the Utah Humanities Council's 35th anniversary.

“Bridging cultural divides and developing a sense for a common humanity are moral and social imperatives,” Leach said in launching the tour. “Civilization requires civility. Words matter...little is more important for the world's leading democracy in this change-intensive century than establishing an ethos of thoughtfulness and decency of expression in the public square.”

Peggy Stock – Honorary Doctor of Education Degree Recipient:

Peggy Stock was Westminster’s 15th president and the first female to lead any institution of higher education in Utah. She brought with her a vision of Westminster as “a destination place for students.” She developed a Campus Master Plan and helped lead a Capital Campaign that allowed the college to implement the plan and transform the campus.

Stock presided over the construction of Westminster’s residential village, the renovation of its student center, the expansion of the Gore School of Business and the development of a high-tech aviation program. Under her direction, plans were also developed to expand the college’s Jewett Center and build the Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center. Those buildings laid the groundwork for her real legacy: an increase in the quantity and quality of the students enrolled, the courses offered and the faculty and staff attracted.