Alice Boutin, Father Dan Riley, Pat Robins and<br/>Mark Shields receive honorary degrees at commencement

By: Buff Lindau

At the Saint Michael's 106th Commencement exercises on May 12, 4 earned honorary doctoral degrees, in addition to some 470 students earning bachelor's degrees and 47 earning master's degrees. The honorary degree recipients were lauded with citations, excerpts from which follow:

Mark Shields receives honorary degree "Mark Shields of Washington, DC, our commencement speaker, is a powerful and effective political commentator, whose caring heart shapes his analyses. What makes him unique among the political analysts of our time is that his insight is most always laced with humor. The Wall Street Journal has called him, "frequently the most trenchant, fair-minded, and thoughtful" political analyst around, and the wittiest… Night after night on the PBS Newshour, often in debate with David Brooks, Mark Shields brings well-researched insights into the political scene along with compassion and rare wit… Using humor and heart, Mark Shields has spent a lifetime writing columns that resonate, that get shared and quoted, and that bring light to government policy…"

Pat Robins, rt., receives honorary degree from Rev. Marcel Rainville, SSE"Pat Robins of Burlington, VT, is an example, par excellence, of the concept of civic engagement. He is a model of what this College hopes students will achieve. As president of the long-time local firm, McAuliffe’s, he grew that company into the major business technology firm, Symquest, employing hundreds of people at locations throughout New England today...While bringing his business to peak productivity, Pat Robins also served his community. His commitment to Burlington was made visible as he brought the Church Street Marketplace into a thriving reality. Atop the business strength of Burlington, Pat Robins guaranteed the aesthetic health of the community by working to build Burlington City Arts into a powerful engine for creativity, and by championing and guiding the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts..."

Honorary Degree Recipient Alice Boutin"Alice Boutin now of Laconia, NH, the first "First Lady of Saint Michael's College," set a standard that inspired those who followed her. Wife of Saint Michael's first lay president, Bernard Boutin, Alice Boutin was a surprise presence on the all-male campus...Bernard and Alice made a practice of having four or five professors at a time to dinner at their Fort Ethan Allen on the North Campus... Alice Boutin's remarks got to the heart of matters  with the right combination of humility and grace...She wanted to make campus-wide relations much warmer and more congenial in a turbulent period of the early 1970s.  She succeeded...In these years President Boutin led Saint Michael's from an all-male institution into the college for men and women that it is today...Alice Boutin quietly lent her voice to these necessary changes."

Honorary Degree recipient Fr. Dan Riley, rt., VP Mike New, left"Father Dan Riley, founding member of Mt. Irenaeus, Franciscan Mountain Retreat, of West Clarksville, NY has lived both his life and his ministry in ways that have touched many, reaching out to not only the faithful seeking the word of God, but also those disenfranchised from the church, as well as those longing to deepen their faith and enrich their lives...Father Dan has spent a lifetime nurturing the spiritual health of all he encounters from his base at Mount Irenaeus... A man of tremendous warmth and humility, he has touched thousands during his mission and his ministry of nearly 50 years. In the mid-1980s a group of friars, took bold steps in founding a unique way of life based upon the Franciscan principals of peace, justice, collaboration, environmental stewardship, and prayerful re-creation. Thus "began anew" a community harkening back to the roots of early Christians on 400 remote acres of land in western New York... Twenty-five years after its founding, Mt. Irenaeus continues to host visitors of all faiths, offering a quiet, natural setting and contemplative atmosphere that encourages people to develop their spirituality, or simply to get away from the stresses of daily life for a little while."

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