Skidmore announces 2023 Commencement speakers
Skidmore College will bestow honorary degrees upon renowned academic, author, and art historian Mary Schmidt Campbell and accomplished scholar, teacher, and civil rights attorney Frederick M. Lawrence during its 112th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 20, at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Skidmore will honor Campbell, president emerita of Spelman College, for her dedication to the education and global leadership of Black women and for her contributions to expanding professional development opportunities for people of color in the arts. An art historian and former curator who spent two decades as dean of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Campbell began her career as executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the country’s first accredited Black fine arts museum. She also served as commissioner of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs under two mayors. In 2009, Barack Obama appointed her vice chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. A tireless advocate for large and small arts organizations, she is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and author of a biography of Romare Bearden (2018) and a forthcoming book on the life and work of the artist Sam Gilliam.
One of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression, and bias crimes, Lawrence is currently serving as the 10th secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s first and most prestigious honor society. He is a distinguished lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center and previously served as president of Brandeis University, dean of the George Washington University Law School, and visiting professor and senior research scholar at Yale Law School. He is the author of “Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law” (1999), which examines bias-motivated violence and how such violence is punished in the United States. A frequent op-ed contributor to national and international news sources, Lawrence has testified before Congress concerning free expression on campus and on federal hate crime legislation. In the 1980s, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York where he became chief of the Civil Rights Unit.
Joowon Park, assistant professor of anthropology and an affiliate faculty member in Skidmore's Asian Studies and International Affairs programs, has been selected as the 2023 Skidmore faculty Commencement speaker. Park is an expert on issues of citizenship and belonging, transnationalism, and the politics of humanitarianism. He is the author of “Belonging in a House Divided” (2022), a study of militarization and resettled 朝鲜朝韩两国. In addition to his work at Skidmore, Park serves as a member of South Korea's Peaceful Unification Advisory Council.
Skidmore College President Marc C. Conner, Board of Trustees Chair Nancy W. Hamilton ’77, Alumni Association President Robert F. Resnick ’88, Class of 2023 President Issy Mejia, and senior gift project leaders Alex Lewis and Iti Singh will also be among those to offer their congratulations to the graduating class.
Commencement exercises, which will begin at approximately 10:40 a.m., will be held in person and are open to all. The event will also be livestreamed on the Skidmore homepage. Skidmore's Commencement website will be updated throughout the spring semester.