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Bard College Holds One Hundred Fifty-Second Commencement on Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, to Deliver Commencement Address; Honorary Degrees Will Be Awarded to Human Rights Activist Aryeh Neier, Entrepreneur Lynda Resnick, Playwright Lynn Nottage, and molecular biologist Jens Reich

Darren O'Sullivan
Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College will hold its one hundred fifty-second commencement on Saturday, May 26, 2012. At the commencement ceremony, Bard President Leon Botstein will confer 452 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2012 and 190 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 in climate science and policy; and master of music in vocal arts and in conducting. 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 Honorable Cory A. Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, who will receive an honorary doctorate of laws. Honorary degrees will also be awarded to human rights activist Aryeh Neier, entrepreneur and philanthropist Lynda Resnick, playwright Lynn Nottage, and molecular biologist Jens Reich.

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 2012. The Bard Medal will be presented to John and Wendy Neu; the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science to Fred Maxik ’86; the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters to Carolee Schneeman ’59; the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service to Stephen Saland; the Mary McCarthy Award to Deborah Eisenberg, and the Bardian Award to JoAnne Akalaitis, Burton Brody, and Frederick Hammond.


The Honorable Cory A. Booker, 42, is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, the largest city in the State of New Jersey. Booker is presently serving his second term. Elected with a clear mandate for change, Booker began work on realizing a bold vision for Newark. His mission is to set a national standard for urban transformation by marshalling the city’s resources to achieve security, economic abundance, and an environment that is nurturing and empowering for individuals and families. Booker, his administration, and Newark’s residents have tackled significant challenges through innovation, new coalitions, creative public-private partnerships, and building on the great foundation of New Jersey’s most historic city.

Mayor Booker and his team have more than doubled the rate of affordable housing production; created the city’s largest expansion of parks and recreation spaces in over a century, with nearly 50 acres of new or refurbished parks; and brought more than $1 billion of new economic development to Newark (including the first new hotels under construction in the city’s downtown in 40 years and the first new office tower in 20 years). Business attraction has also been a focus for Booker and his team—they have enticed large businesses (including Panasonic, Manischewitz, and to relocate their national and international headquarters to Newark and, through the city’s economic development corporation, created a small and midsize business loan fund that has helped over 50 businesses start or expand. Booker has also attracted national attention for his education reform efforts—already succeeding in significantly expanding high-quality public education options for families and leading in the creation of new educational and career-development opportunities for Newark’s disaffected youth. Recognizing the dignity, worth, and limitless potential of all people, Booker has led in the creation of an innovative network of resources and programs for men and women returning from incarceration, dramatically driving down recidivism rates. Booker and his team’s other innovations for youth and families include New Jersey’s first youth and community courts and the creation of grassroots financial centers and 15 family success centers throughout the city.

Mayor Booker has also gained wide attention for his implementation and use of new technologies, ranging from creating the state’s largest wireless network of crime-fighting technology (including cameras and gunshot detection) to raising the bar on customer service using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. For all his efforts and those of countless Newark residents and activists, Newark is fast becoming recognized as one of America’s rising cities of hope and promise. Booker’s leadership in these significant civic strides has been recognized by numerous magazines and other media outlets, including the 2011 Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Booker received his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and a B.A. in modern history at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and completed his law degree at Yale University. And he has often been known to say, he got his B.A. from Stanford, but thanks to a great city, he received his best education from the people of Newark, New Jersey.

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This event was last updated on 05-25-2012