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Congressman Charles B. Rangel To Deliver Commencement Address at Bard College’s 148th Commencement On Saturday, May 24

Honorary Degrees Awarded Choreographer Merce Cunningham, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, Economist Eric S. Maskin, Editor-in-Chief of Knopf Publishers Ajai Singh “Sonny” Mehta, Poetry Critic Marjorie Perloff

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College will hold its one hundred forty-eighth commencement on Saturday, May 24, 2008. At the commencement ceremony, Bard President Leon Botstein will confer 342 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2008 and 141 graduate degrees, including master of fine arts; master of arts in the history of the decorative arts, design, and culture; master of arts in teaching; master of arts in curatorial studies; master of science in environmental policy; and master of music in vocal arts. The program, which begins at 2:30 p.m. in the commencement tent on the Seth Goldfine Memorial Field, will include the presentation of honorary doctoral degrees. The commencement address will be given by Congressman Charles B. Rangel, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. Honorary degrees will also be awarded to choreographer Merce Cunningham, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Margaret H. Marshall, economist Eric S. Maskin, editor-in-chief of Alfred A. Knopf Publishers Ajai Singh “Sonny” Mehta, and poetry critic Marjorie Perloff. Other events taking place during commencement weekend include class reunions; a concert by Bard student soloists and composers with the American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein, conductor; and the granting of Bard College awards for 2007. The Bard Medal will be presented to Lorelle Marcus Phillips '57; the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science to Joel H. Fields '53, M.D.; the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters to Elizabeth Prince '83; the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service to Hannah "Kit" Kauders Ellenbogen '52; the Bardian Award to Richard A. Gordon; and the Mary McCarthy Award to Joyce Carol Oates. ABOUT THE COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER Congressman Charles B. Rangel is serving his 19th term as the representative from the 15th Congressional District, comprising East and Central Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Washington Heights/Inwood. He is the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, chairman of the board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and dean of the New York State congressional delegation. Among his achievements as Ways and Means chairman has been helping to usher in the first increase in the federal minimal wage rate in decades and passing an economic stimulus package that returns money to taxpayers struggling economically. Currently, the congressman is on the front lines of a number of issues, including ending the war in Iraq, renewing the State Child Health Insurance Program, and creating a fairer, simpler tax system by eliminating the alternative minimum wage tax and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit. He has also called for a 21st-century fight on poverty, calling it this generation's greatest threat to national security, and has vowed to use the bully pulpit of the Ways and Means Committee to enlist a variety of private and public entities to increase educational and job opportunities. His past achievements include principal authorship of the five-billion-dollar Federal Empowerment Zone demonstration project to revitalize urban neighborhoods throughout America. He is also the author of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which is responsible for financing 90 percent of the affordable housing built in the United States in the last ten years. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which Rangel also championed, has provided thousands of jobs for underprivileged young people, veterans, and ex-offenders. As former chairman of the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, Rangel continues to lead the nation's fight against drug abuse and trafficking. In his efforts to reduce the flow of drugs into the United States and to solve the nation's continuing drug-abuse crisis, Rangel serves as chairman of the Congressional Narcotics Abuse and Control Caucus. He is a founding member and former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus; he was also chairman of the New York State Council of Black Elected Democrats and was a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the hearings on the articles of impeachment of President Richard Nixon. Rangel served in the U.S. Army from 1948-52, during which time he fought in Korea and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He has authored several pieces of legislation to benefit minority and women veterans, including a successful bill that established the Office of Minority Affairs within the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1987, at the height of the battle against apartheid, Rangel led the effort to include in the Internal Revenue Code one of the most effective anti-apartheid measures, denial of tax credits for taxes paid to South Africa. This measure resulted in several Fortune 500 companies leaving South Africa. In addition, he played a vital role in restoring the democratic government in Haiti. Rangel is a graduate of New York University and St. John's University School of Law. He has spent his entire career in public service, first as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and later in the New York State Assembly. He was elected to the 92nd Congress on November 3, 1970, and has been re-elected to each succeeding Congress. He lives in Harlem with his wife, Alma, who is a founding member of Congressional Black Caucus Spouses and participates in many civic and community organizations. Congressman and Mrs. Rangel have two children. (4/24/08)

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This event was last updated on 05-27-2008