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

The private liberal arts college confirmed Saturday that Blair will address the Class of 2012 on the campus in Waterville. The ceremony is expected to be open to the public, according to Ruth Jacobs, spokesperson for Colby.

The college’s 191st commencement is scheduled to be held on the Miller Library lawn, which has plenty of space for the public, Jacobs said.

There will be fewer seats for the public if poor weather forces the ceremony inside the college’s gymnasium, because there would be a limited amount of tickets and priority is given to parents of students. She added, however, that there likely would be public seating available in the field house on campus, where a large screen will display the ceremony, she said.

Event details are still being finalized and the college plans to announce the schedule and other information about Blair’s speech in a news release in the near future, Jacobs said.

Blair was prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from May 1997 to June 2007 and leader of Britain’s Labour Party from 1994-2007.

Blair is active in charitable foundations and global initiatives, including as a Middle East envoy representing the United Nations, European Union, Russia and United States, according to the Office of Tony Blair website.

He is also active in poverty relief efforts in Africa and international discussions about climate policy, along with other humanitarian programs, the website says. Blair’s office did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.

Jacobs described Blair as one of the most prominent global leaders to speak at the college’s commencement since former President George H.W. Bush spoke in 1994.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]




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