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The Honorable Harry K. Thomas, Jr. ’78, the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe and recipient of many honors from the State Department during his 32-year diplomatic career, will receive an honorary degree from the College of the Holy Cross and address this year’s graduates during the College’s Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 27 at 10:30 a.m. at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. A witness to and participant in some of the most important global events of the past three decades, Thomas served as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines (2010-2013) and to Bangladesh (2003-05) before his appointment to serve in Zimbabwe in 2015. His earlier posting included service in the U.S. embassies in New Delhi, India; Harare, Zimbabwe; Kaduna, Nigeria; and Lima, Peru. He also served as Executive Secretary of the United States Department of State, Director General of the U.S. Foreign Service, Director of the State Department Operations Center, Director for South Asia on the National Security Council Staff and Special Assistant to the then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2013, "in recognition of his invaluable contribution to deepening the relations between the Philippines and the United States," Thomas received the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Grand Cross, Silver Distinction from the president of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III. The State Department has presented him with multiple awards including for his political reporting in Nigeria; for working to bring the Peace Corps to Zimbabwe; and for his role in the aftermath of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He also received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award, along with other awards for his leadership, management and mentoring. Thomas majored in political science at Holy Cross, and received an M.S. degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University. Immediately before his Zimbabwe post, he was diplomat in residence at Arizona State University.

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Worcester, Massachusetts


College of the Holy Cross, graduation


Arts and Humanities | Higher Education

2016 Commencement Address:  The Honorable Harry K. Thomas, Jr. '78



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