Cardinal Dolan Receives Honorary Degree at 12th Bard Prison Initiative Commencement
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, received an honorary doctorate of divinity and delivered the commencement address Saturday, January 24 at the Bard Prison Initiative’s (BPI) 12th commencement ceremony. The graduation was held at Eastern New York Correctional Facility in Napanoch, New York. Bard College awarded degrees to more than 50 students—14 bachelor of arts and 37 associate in arts degrees. Among the B.A. candidates, nearly half majored in mathematics. Bard College President Leon Botstein presided over the ceremony along with representation from the College’s Board of Trustees. Brother Jesus Alonso, professor and head of the Center for Educational Outreach at Holy Cross College in Indiana, offered the invocation and benediction.
BPI offers a Bard College education inside three maximum-security prisons—Coxsackie, Eastern New York, and Green Haven; and three medium-security prisons—Fishkill, Taconic, and Woodbourne. In partnership with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, BPI’s academic presence within the prison system has increased dramatically in breadth, depth, and scale: by the end of this year, the College will have awarded more than 350 degrees to students enrolled through the Initiative. Since 2001, the Bard Prison Initiative has provided college opportunity inside the prisons of New York State. Begun as a pilot program with 15 students, BPI now enrolls close to 300 incarcerated New Yorkers in a robust liberal arts curriculum.
Bard College is also home to the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, which assists other colleges and universities as they establish similar projects in states across the country. More than 800 incarcerated students are enrolled in college through BPI or its partner institutions. The Consortium currently collaborates with colleges in Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, and Washington that are returning rigorous college opportunity to the prison systems of their states. Brother Alonso, who participated in Saturday’s commencement, also helps to oversee the BPI Consortium’s partnership program with Holy Cross College and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
The pursuit of a college education dramatically reduces the rates at which students return to prison after release and spreads the benefits of academic achievement in many of the country’s most isolated communities. It affects all of those whose fates intersect in our prison system, including teachers, volunteers, administrators, and incarcerated students, along with their children and extended families. The work can be transformative, and offers the prospect of change that will reverberate through future generations.
The Bard Prison Initiative challenges and expands our sense of community, and its success is a tribute to an extraordinary collaboration among the College, the government of the State of New York, and our students. For more information, visit: http://bpi.bard.edu/.
#About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is an independent, nonsectarian, residential, coeducational college offering a four-year B.A. program in the liberal arts and sciences and a five-year B.A./B.S. degree in economics and finance. The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers a five-year program in which students pursue a dual degree—a B.Music and a B.A. in a field other than music—and offers an M.Music in vocal arts and in conducting. Bard also bestows an M.Music degree at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bard and its affiliated institutions also grant the following degrees: A.A. at Bard High School Early College, a public school with campuses in New York City, Cleveland, and Newark, New Jersey; A.A. and B.A. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and through the Bard Prison Initiative at six correctional institutions in New York State; M.A. in curatorial studies, M.S. in economic theory and policy, and M.S. in environmental policy and in climate science and policy at the Annandale campus; M.F.A. and M.A.T. at multiple campuses; M.B.A. in sustainability in New York City; and M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan. Internationally, Bard confers dual B.A. degrees at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Russia (Smolny College); American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan; and Bard College Berlin: A Liberal Arts University; as well as dual B.A. and M.A.T. degrees at Al-Quds University in the West Bank.
Bard offers nearly 50 academic programs in four divisions. Total enrollment for Bard College and its affiliates is approximately 5,000 students. The undergraduate College has an enrollment of more than 1,900 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. For more information about Bard College, visit www.bard.edu.
Bard Press Contact:Mark Primoff
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