Bard College Commencement

Bard College Commencement

Main Image for Commencement 2018
Photo Karl Rabe
Commencement and Reunion Weekend
May 25–27, 2018
Bard College held its 158th commencement on Saturday, May 26, 2018. At the commencement ceremony, Bard President Leon Botstein conferred 469 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2018 and 164 graduate degrees. President Botstein also awarded associate degrees to the first students to graduate from Bard Microcollege Holyoke. The program, which began at 2:30 p.m. in the commencement tent on the Seth Goldfine Memorial Rugby Field, included the presentation of honorary doctoral degrees. The commencement address was given by entrepreneur and engineer Megan J. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Honorary degrees were also awarded to composer and conductor Carl Davis ’58, educator and economist Catharine B. Hill, historian Martin E. Jay, artist Glenn Ligon, and songwriter Billy Steinberg ’72.
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Commencement Speeches

Watch the commencement address by tech entrepreneur Megan J. Smith here. Click below to read the full text of Smith's speech and Bard President Leon Botstein's charge to graduates.
About the Commencement Speaker
Photo: Joi Ito

About the Commencement Speaker

Megan J. Smith, CEO, shift7; and third U.S. Chief Technology Officer (2014–17), is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. As the third U.S. chief technology officer, Smith helped the president and federal teams harness the power of technology, data, and innovation to advance the future of our nation and the world. Smith recruited top tech talent to serve across government, collaborating on pressing issues from data science, AI, and open source to inclusive economic growth and criminal justice reform. Her teams focused on broad capacity building by cocreating all-hands-on-deck initiatives, including the public-private program TechHire, the Computer Science for All initiative, and the Image of STEM campaigns.

For more than a decade, Smith served as vice president of new business development at Google; managing early-stage partnerships globally; led acquisitions of Google Earth, Maps, and Picasa; and cocreated Solve for X and Women Techmakers. Earlier, she served as CEO of PlanetOut, an online LGBT community in the early days of the internet, and worked on early smartphone technologies at General Magic and at Apple Japan.

Smith is an adviser to the MIT Media Lab, Vital Voices, and the Malala Fund, which she cofounded, and a National Academy of Engineering member. Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she now serves on the board as a life member. She was a member of the MIT student team that designed, built, and raced a solar car 2,000 miles across the Australian outback. Smith has recently cofounded a company, shift7, focusing on tech-forward networked innovation for impact and economic inclusion.

Bard College held its 157th Commencement on Saturday, May 27, 2017