Local/State

Swarthmore grad speaker pulls out over criticism

Monday, April 08, 2013
Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank, smiles as he arrives for a closed-doors conference organized by German newspaper Die Welt in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.

Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank, smiles as he arrives for a closed-doors conference organized by German newspaper Die Welt in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. (AP Photo / AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

The former head of the World Bank has withdrawn as the commencement speaker at Swarthmore College.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."

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.

Commencement is scheduled for June 2. There was no immediate word on a new commencement speaker.

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