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Ferraro Speaks at Wellesley Rites


(Text of Ferraro's remarks, Page 2.)

(By Robert E. Malchman)

Geraldine A. Ferraro stressed the interdependence of nations and the opportunities available to women in a speech Friday to Wellesley College's Class of 1985.


The 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate gave the address, frequently interrupted by applause, at Wellesley's 107th commencement exercises. The college graduated 543 seniors.

Ferraro made two partisan remarks aimed at the President Ronald Reagan. She said that America's allies "are unhappy when we move unilaterally, when we impose sanctions without consulting them, as President Reagan recently did in Nicaragua."

The former New York congresswoman also took the president to task for his visit to Bitburg's military cemetary, last month as "an insensitive slight to all of us who recognize the horrors of that terrible war." Both comments received applause from the audience.

The United States missed an opportunity to send the Soviet Union a positive signal by failing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the meeting of American and Soviet soldiers at the River Elbe, she said.

Ferraro praised young people who worked to have their schools withdraw investments from companies which do not adhere to the Sullivan Principles in South Africa. She thanked those students wearing white armbands for demonstrating their support to that goal.

Nearly half the class, including an ROTC graduate in uniform, wore the armbands, but to protest US policy in Central America, not investment in South Africa. "The people wearing armbands want to show support for self-determination for the peoples of Central America," said protesting graduate Sarah P. Mulkern, former editor in chief and publisher of The Wellesley News.

A smaller number of students wore yellow flowers to show opposition to apartheid. It was not clear whether those protesters supported the Sullivan Principles, or objected to South African investment under any circumstances.

Ferraro declared that there are "new opportunities, too, for human rights in our own country."

"Today, in America, women can be whatever we want to be," she continued. Not everyone would agree with the decisions Ferraro made for her life, "but the point is, they were mine -- I made them myself."

Ferraro told of a girl in Seattle who said to her, "I'm 17 years old, and when I hear you list women's accomplishments in the last few years, I just wonder what will still be left for my generation to do."

What is left is to expand on the gains of this generation, Ferraro said. "The good is the enemy of the better, and still greater enemy of the best."