The former head of the World Bank has withdrawn as the commencement speaker at Swarthmore College.
The private Quaker school in suburban Philadelphia says alumnus Robert Zoellick withdrew Friday after criticism from some students over his support for the Iraq war and his role in President George Bush's administration.
Swarthmore President Rebecca Chopp sent an email announcing to students and faculty announcing the withdrawal. In it, Zoellick says he doesn't want to disrupt “what should be a special day for the graduates, their families and friends.”
Chopp mentioned the college's "long, proud history" of inviting alumni back to campus to speak and be honored.
"As president, it is my vision, and has consistently been my experience, that ours is a community fully capable of respectfully embracing a wide variety of viewpoints and experiences... Most of our honorary degree nominees have been Swarthmore graduates who have gone on to become leaders in their professional, civic, and community lives both around the country and around the world, and this year's recipients are certainly no exception."
Zoellick is a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He served as president of the World Bank from 2007 to 2012.
He was to have received an honorary degree along with entrepreneur Tralance Addy and novelist Lorene Cary. Addy and Cary, who were scheduled to already speak at Swarthmore's June 2 commencement, will still address the students, according to administrators.
Commencement is scheduled for June 2.