Bard Prison Initiative Director Max Kenner Named To Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce's Forty Under 40ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard Prison Initiative founder and Executive Director Max Kenner has been named as a recipient of the 2016 Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Forty Under 40 Shaker Awards. Bestowed annually to 40 people under the age of 40 who have shown a strong commitment to the Hudson Valley, the Shaker Awards identify and honor the next generation of leaders. The awards ceremony will be held on the evening of Thursday, April 28 at the Changepoint Auditorium in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Max Kenner, a 2001 graduate of Bard College, conceived of and created the Bard Prison Initiative as a student volunteer organization when he was an undergraduate in 1999. After gaining the support of the College and cooperation of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, he has overseen the growth of the BPI program into a renowned leader in its field. Kenner has led the expansion of BPI from a pilot program with 15 students to a nationally recognized education initiative enrolling 300 students within six sites in correctional facilities throughout New York State. Kenner is a leading advocate for the national restoration of college-in-prison and frequently speaks publicly in a wide variety of forums about the BPI model in education and criminal justice policy. He is a cofounder of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, which supports other colleges and universities in establishing and maintaining ambitious college-in-prison projects. The University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College, Wesleyan University, and Goucher Colleges are among the partners in the national project, which is active in 11 states.
Kenner also serves as vice president for institutional initiatives and advisor to the president on public policy and college affairs at Bard College. He was a 2013–14 fellow-in-residence at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. In July 2014, Kenner was appointed to serve on Governor Cuomo’s New York State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, Re-Entry Subcommittee. Kenner was recently named to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Forty Under 40 list, and received the Manhattan Institute Richard Cornuelle Award in Social Entrepreneurship and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Education.
About The Bard Prison Initiative
As the largest program of its kind in the United States, BPI enrolls 300 incarcerated men and women across a full spectrum of academic disciplines, and offers more than 60 courses each semester. Bard has granted 350 degrees to BPI participants and enrolled more than 800 students.
With the help of a significant private grant, the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison was created to support other innovative college-in-prison programs throughout the country. Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Grinnell College in Iowa, Goucher College in Maryland, and the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College in Indiana have now established programs, and the Consortium is active in 11 states.
The Initiative is one of a number of projects at Bard College that seek to strengthen the importance of the liberal arts in public life. These include early college high schools in New York City, Newark, Cleveland, and Baltimore; an early college program in New Orleans; an honors college at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem; and liberal arts colleges in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
With a recidivism rate of less than 2 percent, graduates of the BPI program have consistently succeeded after release from prison. Some have chosen to work in human service organizations, assisting people with AIDS or becoming professional counselors for residents in city-based alternatives to incarceration. Several graduates have worked their way up to management positions in an innovative, for-profit electronics recycling company. Other graduates have continued their education, earning scholarships and working toward additional academic and professional degrees. As former President Bill Clinton observed in his book Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, BPI “is a good investment in a safer, more productive society.”
Bard Press Contact:Mark Primoff
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