Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff

Honorary Doctorates will be Awarded to Redford, K. Anthony Appiah, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, John T. Cacioppo, Richard J. Goldstone, James J. Heckman, and David E. Schwab II ’52.

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College will hold its one hundred forty-fourth commencement on Saturday, May 22, 2004. At the commencement ceremony, Bard President Leon Botstein will award 308 undergraduate degrees to the Class of 2004 and 87 graduate degrees: 29 masters of fine arts; 23 masters of arts in the history of the decorative arts, design, and culture; 15 masters of arts in curatorial studies; 15 masters of science in environmental policy; and five masters of science in environmental studies. 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 actor, director, and activist Robert Redford, who will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Honorary degrees will also be awarded to writer and scholar K. Anthony Appiah, molecular biologist Elizabeth H. Blackburn,research psychologist John T. Cacioppo, Judge Richard J. Goldstone,economist and Nobel laureate James J. Heckman, and Bard College Trustee David E. Schwab II ’52.

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 the year 2004. The Bard Medal will be presented to Bard College Trustee Richard B. Fisher;the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science to Sanford M. Simon; the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters to Rita McBride ’82; the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Serviceto William T. Dickens ’76; the Mary McCarthy Award to Shirley Hazzard; and the Bardian Award to Luis Garcia-Renart and Adolfas Mekas.


Robert Redford is a highly celebrated actor, Academy Award-winningdirector, and producer. He is an ardent conservationist and environmentalist, aman who stands for social responsibility and political involvement, and anartist and businessman who is a staunch supporter of uncompromised creative expression. His passion remains to make films of substance and social andcultural relevance, as well as to encourage others to express themselves through the arts.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Redford began his acting career in NewYork City after attending art school in Paris. He landed his first Broadway starring role in Sunday in New York, followed by Little Moon of Albanand Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, directed by Mike Nichols. In the film version of that play, Redford's reprisal of the role of newlywed Paul Bratter, opposite Jane Fonda, earned him praise from critics and audiences. In 1969, after acting in a number of other films, Redford teamed up with Paul Newman and director George Roy Hill for the movie Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, which became an instant classic and established Redford as one of Hollywood's top leading men. He teamed up with Newman and Hill again for The Sting, which won seven Oscars, including Best Picture, in addition to bringing Redford his Best Actor nomination. He has since built a distinguished acting career, starring in such films as Jeremiah Johnson, The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby, Three Days of the Condor, The Natural, Out of Africa, Spy Game, and the upcoming releases The Clearing and An Unfinished Life. Redford has starred in several films produced by his own Wildwood Enterprises, which he founded in 1968. These films include Downhill Racer, The Candidate, The Electric Horseman, and All the President’s Men,which earned eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

As a director, Redford won a Directors Guild of America Award, a Golden Globe Award, and the Academy Award for Best Director for his directorial debut,Ordinary People. He directed and produced The Milagro Beanfield War; A River Runs Through It; Quiz Show, which earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director in 1994; The Horse Whisperer; and The Legend of Bagger Vance. He also produced A Civil Action, starring John Travolta, and served as an executive producer on the films How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog, Slums of Beverly Hills, No Looking Back, She’s the One,and the soon to be released The Motorcycle Diaries which were produced under his South Fork Picture banner. He has also been the executive producer for television series and films that have appeared on PBS and HBO.

In 1981, Redford founded the Sundance Institute, which is dedicated to the support and development of emerging screenwriters and directors of vision, and to the national and international exhibition of new independent cinema. The Sundance Film Festival is internationally recognized as the single mostimportant showcase of independent cinema. Sundance Channel, a further extension of the Institute's mission, brings television viewers engaging feature films, shorts, documentaries, world cinema, and animation, shown uncut and with no commercials. In 1996, Redford received the Screen Actors Guild's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his enduring contributions to film. In March 2002, he received an Honorary Academy Award, recognizing his achievements as "actor, director, producer, and creator of Sundance, inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere."

Redford has been a renowned environmentalist and activist since the early 1970s and has served for over 25 years as a Trustee of the Board of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He has been involved with many pieces of environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act (1974–75), the Energy Conservation and Production Act (1974–76), and the National Energy Policy Act (1989). In 1975, he successfully fought against the building of a coal-fired power plant planned for an area in Southern Utah surrounded by five national parks. In 1997, after a long and contentious battle in which Redford worked with a large coalition of activists to save the same area from commercial exploitation, President Clinton designated it the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. In the early 80s, Redford founded the Institute for Resource Management, which he led throughout the decade, bringing together environmentalists and industrialists to resolve conflicts and promote sustainable development. He has received numerous awards for his environmental work, including the 1989 Audubon Medal and the 1987 United Nations Global 500 Award, the 1993 Earth Day International Award, and the 1994 Nature Conservancy Award. He was also the recipient of the 1996 National Medal for the Arts by President Clinton and the 2001 Freedom in Film Award presented by the First Amendment Center, and the 2004 Forces of Nature Lifetime Achievement Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Redford lives in Sundance, Utah.


David Schwab has been a leader of Bard College and a friend to the entire Bard community for more than 50 years. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of Bard College in 1964 and has served as chairman since 1984. Prior to that,he was a member of the executive committee of the Bard–St. Stephen's Alumni/ae Association from 1956 to 1960 and its president from 1960 to 1962.

As a member and chairman of the Bard Board, Schwab has been a passionate and dedicated leader during perhaps the greatest period of growth and achievement in the history of the College. Schwab was instrumental in hiring Bard President Leon Botstein in 1975 and has overseen four decades of accomplishment and expansion at Bard, from numerous building projects and the establishment of Bard's graduate schools, to the opening, last year, of the Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts.

Schwab's commitment to Bard can be traced to his undergraduate years at the College, when, as a government major, he was a John Bard Scholar and the recipient of a William J. Lockwood Prize as the senior student who had "contributed most to the general welfare of the college." In addition he was a member of the Educational Policies Committee, president of his senior class, and station manager of WXBC, the College radio station. He met his wife,Ruth Schwartz '52, at Bard on his first day on campus.

After Bard, Schwab attended Yale Law School, graduating in 1955. He clerked for Hon. Alexander Bicks, U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York, and then joined the firm of Benjamin, Galton & Robbins. In 1959 he founded his own firm, Schwab, Goldberg, Price & Dannay, which practiced general and intellectual property law in New York. In 1998, the firm mergedwith Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman P.C., where Schwab is senior counsel intrusts and estates.

Among his other generous commitments to Bard, Schwab is a member of the Bard Music Festival Board of Directors and is on the advisory board of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Bard has created the endowed Ruth and David E. Schwab II Professorship in Languages and Literature, which is held by the writer Ann Lauterbach. He also devotes many hours as a volunteer to the undergraduate program. A devotee of chamber music, he is on the board of Friends of Music Concerts, Inc., which presents chamber music in Westchester County. He has been President of Temple Israel of Northern Westchester in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. and a member of the National Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism. He is currently a member of the board and a regional vice president of the Greater New York Council of Reform Synagogues and a director of Triarc Companies, Inc.

After 20 years, Schwab is stepping down from Bard's chairman post this year, though he intends to remain an active trustee of the college. David and Ruth Schwab live in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

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This event was last updated on 05-25-2004