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Bard College

Bard College will hold its one hundred sixty-second commencement on Saturday, May 28, 2022. Bard President Leon Botstein will confer 425 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2022 and 161 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 science and master of arts in economic theory and policy; master of business administration in sustainability; master of arts in teaching; master of arts in curatorial studies; master of science in environmental policy and in climate science and policy; master of music in vocal arts and in conducting; master of music in curatorial, critical, and performance studies; and master of education in environmental education. The program will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the commencement tent on the Seth Goldfine Memorial Rugby Field.

The Commencement address will be given by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. Honorary degrees will be awarded to Haaland, Fordham University President Joseph M. McShane S.J., composer Zeena Parkins ’79, computer scientist Jennifer Tour Chayes, writer Alaa Al Aswany, scholar Jerome Kohn, musician Marcus Roberts, and Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Art Eric Motley.

Other events taking place during Commencement Weekend include Bard College award ceremonies. The Bard Medal will be presented to George F. Hamel, Jr; the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science to Chidi Chike Achebe ’92; the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters to R.H. Quaytman ’83; the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service to Michael Zack Koryk MAT ’07; the Mary McCarthy Award to Mei-mei Berssenbrugge; and Bardian Awards to Jean Churchill, Daniel Berthold, Norton Batkin, Thurman Barker, Richard Davis, Ken Buhler, Randy Clum, Marcia Acita, Joseph Santore, and Ellen Driscoll. The inaugural Laszlo Bitó Award for Humanitarian Service will be awarded to Bryan Billings, Omar Waraich, and Aselia Umetalieva. 

About the commencement speaker

Secretary Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican.

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Secretary Haaland grew up in a military family; her father was a 30-year combat Marine who was awarded the Silver Star Medal for saving six lives in Vietnam, and her mother is a Navy veteran who served as a federal employee for 25 years at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a military child, she attended 13 public schools before graduating from Highland High School in Albuquerque.

As a single mother, Secretary Haaland volunteered at her child’s pre-school to afford early childhood education. Like many parents, she had to rely on food stamps at times as a single parent, lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and struggled to put herself through college. At the age of 28, Haaland enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and later earned her J.D. from UNM Law School. Secretary Haaland and her child, who also graduated from the University of New Mexico, are still paying off student loans.

Secretary Haaland ran her own small business producing and canning Pueblo Salsa, served as a tribal administrator at San Felipe Pueblo, and became the first woman elected to the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, overseeing business operations of the second largest tribal gaming enterprise in New Mexico. She successfully advocated for the Laguna Development Corporation to create policies and commitments to environmentally friendly business practices.

Throughout her career in public service, Secretary Haaland has broken barriers and opened the doors of opportunity for future generations.

After running for New Mexico Lieutenant Governor in 2014, Secretary Haaland became the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a State Party. She is one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. In Congress, she focused on environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered indigenous women, and family-friendly policies.

About Bard College

Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 13 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 161-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit

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