Linda Tarr-Whelan Named Commencement Speaker at PSU

April 27th, 2007 by Adam

Plymouth, N.H. – Linda Tarr-Whelan, who spent four years as the U.S. ambassador and representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, will be the guest speaker at the 136th undergraduate commencement at Plymouth State University on Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. Tarr-Whelan will also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.


Tarr-Whelan has had a distinguished career in business, government and non-profit organizations for over 45 years, including serving as a senior adviser to Presidents Carter and Clinton.

Currently, she is a distinguished senior fellow for Women’s Leadership, a communications initiative to change the public debate on women’s empowerment. She is also a managing partner for Tarr-Whelan Associates, Inc., an international consultancy that provides strategic, management and development advice to leaders of organizations and corporations.

Named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Washington by The Ladies Home Journal in 1990, Tarr-Whelan has collected numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including an honorary Ph.D. from Chatham College in Pennsylvania, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Government Service from Johns Hopkins University and the Prominent Women in International Law Award given by the American Society for International Law.

Tarr-Whelan has served on the Virginia State Education Assistance Authority, the Virginia Education Loan Authority, the New York State Health Commission and the New York Public Management Internship Commission as well as the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiation.

For six years, she served as the director of government relations for the National Education Association, directing congressional relations for a teacher’s union of over two million people.

She created a series of five women’s economic summits for government, business and non-profit leaders, in which both President Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton attended.

From 1986-99, she held the position of president and CEO of the Center for Policy Alternatives. In that role she cultivated bipartisan networks with state public officials and leaders from business, labor and non-profits. She helped develop policy models that have now become state and national law.

After an eight-year stint as the nurse consultant and director of public policy for AFSCME, Tarr-Whelan left the nation’s capital for upstate New York and the position of administrative director for the New York State Department of Labor, where she was appointed by Governor Hugh Carey to oversee an agency of 10,000 employees and 250 local offices.

The President of the United States called her back to Washington two years later, as she was named deputy assistant to President Jimmy Carter. In that role she was President Carter’s senior advisor and speech writer for domestic policy related to women.

She is also author of the upcoming book, Want a Better Future? Bet on Women!

A graduate of Johns Hopkins, Tarr-Whelan began her professional career in nursing, rising to department head for the school of nursing at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. She also earned her master’s degree from the University of Maryland. She is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honorary society and Phi Kappa Phi, the academic honorary society.

Tarr-Whelan, a native of Springfield, Mass., is married to Keith Tarr-Whelan. The couple has two children and three grandchildren.

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For more information on this release, contact Kevin D. Anderson at kdanderson@plymouth.edu or (603) 535-2211.