The 2023 Bard College Awards will be held on Friday, May 26, as part of Commencement and Reunion Weekend.
Roland J. Augustine began his art career as director of Galleri Bellman in Manhattan, where he organized important monographic exhibitions on Edvard Munch and Chaim Soutine, among others. In 1985, Augustine and Lawrence R. Luhring cofounded Luhring Augustine, which now has three spaces in New York City and represents an international, intergenerational group of contemporary artists. A native of Kingston, New York, Augustine was president of the Art Dealers Association of America from 2006 to 2009, and he serves on the board of trustees of Bard College and board of governors of the Longy School of Music of Bard College. In 2015, Augustine established the Program for International Education and Social Change (PIESC), a scholarship program at Bard College Berlin for students from areas of crisis and conflict, many of whom have been forcibly displaced. PIESC, which is funded by private and institutional donations, has so far enabled 66 students from Afghanistan, Brazil, Eritrea, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen to work toward a bachelor’s degree in the humanities or social sciences.
John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science
Dr. Babacar Cisse ’03, Leon Levy Research Fellow at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, is an award-winning neurosurgeon with a special expertise in primary and metastatic brain and spinal tumors. He utilizes multiple modern and advanced procedures for the achievement of the safest outcomes for his patients, including neuro-navigation, ultrasound, advanced imaging, motor- and speech mapping, and endoscopic and other minimally invasive approaches. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bard College, Cisse joined the Medical Scientist Training Program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City, where he earned his medical degree and PhD with distinction. He completed his residency in neurological surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and his chief residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He then joined the clinical faculty at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center. Cisse is also on the faculty of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute.
Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters
Layli Long Soldier MFA ’14 (Oglala Lakota) earned her bachelor of fine arts degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her poems have appeared in Poetry magazine, New York Times, American Poet, American Reader, Kenyon Review, BOMB, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship, Lannan Literary Fellowship, and Whiting Award, and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award. She has also received the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award, 2021 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and 2021 Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize, which honors a distinctive first book of poetry in English published in Britain or Ireland. Long Soldier is the author of Chromosomory (Q Avenue Press) and WHEREAS (Graywolf Press).
John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service
Tom Begich ’82 was elected Alaska state senator for District J in 2016 and served as minority leader from 2018 to 2022. In the state senate he forged cross-party relationships that improved education, reduced incivility, and set the stage for the current bipartisan majority coalition. Begich is the owner of CW Communications, a strategic planning, facilitation, and communications firm where he applies the principles of community development to restorative and juvenile justice, education, and mental health reform. He is currently a faculty member and coach with Reclaiming Futures, a national juvenile justice–mental health initiative and is also executive director of the Nick Begich Scholarship Intern Fund, which has provided more than $600,000 in scholarships to those seeking careers in public service and education. He has served on numerous boards, was chair of the National Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and, with his wife, Sarah Sledge, is committed to serving his community. A poet and musician, he has released seven CDs and one book of poetry and performs throughout the country.
Ting Ting Cheng ’02 is a civil rights attorney and activist. She is the director of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, where she develops expert legal guidance and strategic leadership on the ratification of the ERA to the United States Constitution, and on the role of the ERA in advancing the larger cause of gender-based justice. Prior to the ERA Project, Cheng litigated gender-discrimination cases at Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. Earlier, she was an attorney at the New York City Commission for Human Rights and a public defender and immigrant defense attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services. She clerked at the Constitutional Court of South Africa for Justices Albie Sachs and Edwin Cameron. In addition, Cheng was a Fulbright Scholar to South Africa, where she received the Amy Biehl Award. Before coming to Bard, where she double majored in politics and music composition, Cheng was a concert oboist and performed with orchestras including the American Symphony Orchestra.
Mary McCarthy Award
Katherine Boo, journalist and editor at the New Yorker, reports from within under-resourced and stigmatized communities on crucial questions of opportunity and equity. Her journalism has received a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, a MacArthur “genius” grant, and a National Book Award for Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a nonfiction account of life in the Mumbai slums that has been published in 30 languages. At the New Yorker she stewards into print investigative projects and features on social issues, and has been a volunteer adviser to numerous nonprofit journalism endeavors, among them Barbara Ehrenreich’s Economic Hardship Reporting Project, the 19th News, and the Pulitzer Prizes, whose board she cochaired in 2021 and 2022. Boo also collaborates with low-income families on community development projects in two underserved areas—an endeavor she began a decade ago with her husband, writer and historian Sunil Khilnani.