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April 8, 2004
Lewisburg, Pa. - Consumer advocate, lawyer, and author Ralph Nader will speak at Bucknell University's 154th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23.
Nader has been called one of America's most effective social critics and has been described as the "U.S.'s toughest customer" in TIME magazine.
During his lengthy career as consumer advocate, he has founded many organizations, including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a monthly magazine).
On Sunday, February 22, Nader announced on NBC's Meet the Press that he would run for U.S. president as an independent this year.
However, his commencement address to Bucknell graduates, their families and friends will not be political in nature. Nader will speak on civic engagement. Bucknell has been working with Nader to ensure that his commencement address will not touch on his political campaign and will be appropriate to a commencement ceremony.
Nader was chosen as Bucknell's commencement speaker by a committee of students, faculty members, and administrators, primarily as a result of the students' input, more than four months before he announced his candidacy.
Nader has appeared on campus before. In early 2001, Nader spoke to a full house at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, "imploring his audience to use its education to make a difference in society," according to The Bucknellian, the university's student newspaper.
His lecture, "World Trade and Globalization," focused on corporate abuses and the importance of citizenship. According to the Bucknellian, Nader "encouraged students not to put limits on their liberal education at the university, claiming that the 'great gap in formal education today is citizen training.' "
Nader first made headlines in 1965 with his book Unsafe at Any Speed, a critique of the auto industry for producing unsafe vehicles. The book led to congressional hearings and a series of automobile safety laws passed in 1966.
Since 1966, Nader has been responsible for at least eight major federal consumer protection laws such as the motor vehicle safety laws, Safe Drinking Water Act; the launching of federal regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Administration; the recall of millions of defective motor vehicles; and access to government through the Freedom of Information Act of 1974.
Nader was a Green Party candidate for president in 2000. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in 1955 from Princeton University and in 1958 received his law degree with distinction from Harvard University.