Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to speak at Colby commencement

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 22, 2012, at 3:16 p.m.

WATERVILLE, Maine — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will give the commencement speech at Colby College on May 20.

“We’re currently working out the details with his office. It isn’t finalized,” Colby spokeswoman Ruth Jacobs said. “[But] I can confirm that he is the speaker.”

Although the college hasn’t issued a press release on Blair coming to the college, Jacobs said Colby officials wanted to let the seniors know who was speaking.

“It started to leak out in the student body [about Blair speaking], and we realized we had to get it out to the seniors because they wanted to know,” said Jacobs, adding that a press release will be available soon. “It’s really exciting.”

Weather could determine whether the general public will get to see Blair speak.

If the commencement is outside, it will take place on the lawn of the Miller Library and will be open to the public. If the weather is poor, the commencement will be inside the gymnasium.

“If that’s the case, it will be a ticketed event [because of space limitations],” Jacobs said. “Seniors will be given a number of tickets for their families.”

Blair served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from May 1997 to June 2007. He was the leader of the Labor Party from 1994-2007. After he stepped down as prime minister and as the Labor Party leader in 2007, Blair was appointed a Middle East envoy, working on behalf of the United Nations, European Union, Russia and the United States.

Jacobs said Blair will be the highest-profile commencement speaker the college has had since George H.W. Bush spoke immediately after his presidency in the early 1990s.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/22/news/mid-maine/former-british-prime-minister-tony-blair-to-speak-at-colby-commencement/ printed on August 1, 2014