Gabrielle Giffords, former congresswoman, to speak at Bard commencement

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords reacts after reciting the

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords reacts after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 6, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will deliver the commencement speech this year at Bard College, the school announced Wednesday.

Giffords, 42, will receive an honorary degree from the Dutchess County liberal arts school when she delivers a speech to more than 600 graduates May 25, the school said in a statement.

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Giffords will be joined by her husband, former space shuttle commander Mark Kelly.

After surviving an assassination attempt in 2011, Giffords formally resigned from Congress in January of 2012 and has struggled through a long rehabilitation process from the near-lethal gunshot wound she suffered while meeting with constituents in Tucson, Ariz.

The shooting left her partially paralyzed and severely reduced her vision. In addition, Giffords has difficulty speaking, though she continues to improve with ongoing therapy.

A former supporter of gun rights, Giffords has become a leading proponent of gun control since the shooting.

The man responsible for the shooting, Jared Lee Loughner, pleaded guilty last year and is serving life in prison without parole.

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