This past weekend was a busy one for graduating students and others receiving accolades from institutions of higher learning. In Boston on Saturday, White House Chief of Staff John Sununu was given the "I Touched the Future" award "for his contributions and commitment to education in society," according to Paul S. Weller, president of Framington State College, about 20 miles west of Boston. The award was created to honor Christa C. McAuliffe, the New Hampshire teacher who died with six astronauts in 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff. "Teaching is not only the most noble, but the most critical {career} for this nation," said Sununu. Weller also gave Sununu a medallion named for McAuliffe.

Meanwhile, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., awarded an honorary degree to perhaps its most famous graduate: actor-comedian Chevy Chase (class of '68). The master of the "Saturday Night Live" pratfall was there Saturday to give the commencement speech too. His words of wisdom to the graduates? "Avoid fatty foods. Avoid smoking, drugs, Bensonhurst, the Gaza Strip, bungee jumping, humorless people ... {and} weight training." Chase also advised his audience never to tell the truth, and above all, "never call me."

And on Friday at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., it was a family affair for actor-entrepreneur Paul Newman and his kin. Newman's wife, actress Joanne Woodward, and their daughter, Clea Olivia Newman, were among the 285 graduates who received bachelor's degrees. According to school officials, Woodward's degree was the culmination of more than a decade of study, fit in between career commitments. Incidentally, Paul Newman was the commencement speaker. In his 20-minute address, he told the graduates and their 3,000 friends and relatives anecdotes from his life, including the one about the creation of his salad dressing. He added that "individualism needs to be ... tempered by community. Community happens the instant two like-minded individuals build something for someone else, address a grievance, take a risk." He pointed to last year's pro-democracy demonstrations in China and the tumbling of the Berlin Wall as examples. "Be the response," Newman urged the graduates about the future, "not the silence."

Bennett vs. Bart Simpson

William Bennett really ought to know better than to mess with animated 10-year-old pop icons. During a visit to a Pittsburgh drug rehabilitation center earlier this month, Bennett spotted a poster of Bart Simpson, the wee rebel-without-a-clue on Fox Broadcasting's show "The Simpsons." "You guys aren't watching 'The Simpsons,' are you?" he asked the recovering addicts. "That's not going to help you any." Then on Wednesday, Bennett was asked about the comment when he spoke to reporters while in New Orleans for a conference. "I don't know the guy, I've never met the guy, I've never seen the show, I don't know anything about it," he said. "But I touched a button." In a statement released Thursday by his office, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy said, "I'll sit down with the little spike-head, we'll straighten this thing out. There's nothing that a Catholic school, a paper route and a couple soap sandwiches wouldn't straighten out."

St. John, Wagner to Wed

It takes a Saint to catch a Hart. Or something like that. After eight years of courtship, actors Jill St. John, 49, and Robert Wagner, 60, were married Saturday in a private ceremony at Wagner's Pacific Palisades, Calif., home. Wagner, of TV's "Hart to Hart" series, was married twice to the late actress Natalie Wood, who at 43 drowned off Santa Catalina Island in 1981. St. John was previously married and divorced three times. Her films include "Diamonds Are Forever."

Elvis Killed Himself, Biographer Claims

The King is dead. Long live the King. And according to Elvis Presley's controversial biographer, Albert Goldman, the King died by his own hand. In a cover story in the June issue of Life magazine, Goldman alleges that Presley committed suicide by taking a drug overdose. "It's perfect. It's the archetypal rags to riches to rot story," Goldman said as advance copies of his story were released to the media on Friday. In his 1981 biography "Elvis," Goldman wrote that the singer died of an accidental overdose. He said he changed his mind about the King's demise after subsequent conversations with David Stanley, Elvis's stepbrother. Stanley, a recovering drug addict, was one of the first people to see Elvis dead. Stanley said he knew all along it was suicide, but had trouble accepting it.

-- Compiled from staff and wire reports by Gigi Anders