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Press Release

Bard College Holds One Hundred Fifty-First Commencement on Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, to Deliver Commencement Address

Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College will hold its one hundred fifty-first commencement on Saturday, May 21, 2011. At the commencement ceremony, Bard President Leon Botstein will confer 415 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2011 and 153 graduate degrees, including master of fine arts; doctor and master of philosophy and master of arts in decorative arts, design history, and material 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 Rugby Field, will include the presentation of honorary doctoral degrees.

The commencement address will be given by The Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Honorary degrees will be awarded to geneticist David Botstein, law professor Christopher Edley Jr., Al-Quds University President

Sari Nusseibeh, songwriters Richard M. Sherman ’49 and Robert B. Sherman ’49, lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, and National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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 2011. The Bard Medal will be presented to Richard Koch; the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science to Richard C. Friedman ’61; the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters to Adam Yauch ’86; the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service to Pia Carusone ’03; the Mary McCarthy Award to Ann Beattie, and the Bardian Award to Jean M. French.



The Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk became bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York in 2001. He shepherded the diocese through the attack on the Twin Towers, a fire that severely damaged the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, controversies concerning the ordination of homosexuals, and the financial panic that broke out in 2008. He has emerged as a recognized spokesman for the Episcopal Church in the United States; many people look to him for guidance when disputes arise with churches that oppose the Episcopalian acceptance of homosexuality as an orientation compatible with Christian faith and identity.

Bishop Sisk has a bachelor of science degree in economics from the University of Maryland and entered the General Theological Seminary in order to be formed for the priesthood. His early appointments included serving at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across the Hudson River from Bard in Kingston, as rector, a position in which he cofounded the Religious Council of the City of Kingston. He then became the diocese’s archdeacon of Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties, and in that role started the Metropolitan Japanese Ministry and nurtured the first Latino congregation in Yonkers.

Before becoming bishop, he was named president and dean of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Under his leadership, Seabury established new models of theological education for seminarians and continuing education of the clergy, as well as the first doctoral degree in congregational development in the Episcopal Church. 

Bishop Sisk is a member of The Third Order of the Society of St. Francis. An honorary trustee of Bard College, Bishop Sisk represents a line of continuity from the College’s founding, when Bishop Horatio Potter permitted John Bard to create St. Stephen’s College (which became Bard College in 1934) as part of the Diocese of New York.

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This event was last updated on 05-16-2011