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Commencement
 

Commencement

Commencement Speakers at Skidmore (1937 to present)

1937

Henry T. Moore, second president of Skidmore College, doctor of laws

1938

None given

1939

None given

1940

Myral M. Sutherland, Mary McClellan Hospital superintendent, master of letters

1941

Caroline Beach Slade, social worker, women's and children's advocate, novelist, master of letters

1942

Ada Louise Comstock, Radcliffe College president, doctor of laws

1943

Hazel Stiebeling '15, international leader in nutrition research, doctor of laws

George Dinsmore Stoddard, authority on child development, New York State commissioner of education, doctor of laws

1944

Helen McKinstry, physical-education pioneer, president of Russell Sage College, doctor of laws

1945

None given

1946

Sarah Gibson Blanding, Vassar College president, doctor of laws

1947

Elizabeth Ames, executive director of Yaddo artist's retreat, doctor of letters

Mary Donlon, chair of New York State Workmen's Compensation Board, doctor of laws

1948

Elsie Bond, administrator with State Charities Aid Association, doctor of laws

Pauline Eggleston Mandigo, president of Phoenix News Bureau, doctor of letters

1949

Esther Lucile Brown, director of Studies in the Professions at Russell Sage Foundation, doctor of laws

1950

Louise Pearce, Women's Medical College president, doctor of laws

Helene Scherff Taylor '22, librarian: master of letters,

1951

Margaret Bridgman, Skidmore dean, nursing-education consultant, doctor of letters

Irene Ward McClellan, Skidmore nursing program benefactor, doctor of letters

1952

Katherine Gillette Blyley, Keuka College president, former member of Skidmore English faculty, doctor of laws

Barbara Bliss Southerland '30, founder, teacher, and principal of Union School, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, master of letters

1953

Kathryn Starbuck, practitioner and teacher of law, public-affairs activist, secretary of Skidmore College, doctor of laws

1954

None given

1955

Margaret Clapp, Wellesley College president, doctor of laws

1956

Lillian Moller Gilbreth, industrial engineer, time-motion researcher, mother of 12, doctor of laws

James Hazen Hyde, founder of the Fédération de L'Alliance Française, doctor of laws

1957

Josephine Young Case, poet, novelist, teacher, Skidmore trustee, doctor of letters

Marie Blain Moore, Skidmore first lady, master of letters

1958

Margaret Mead, anthropologist and ethnologist, doctor of letters

1959

Leona Baumgartner, public-health advocate, first woman to serve as New York City's Commissioner of Health, doctor of laws

1960

None given

1961

None given

1962

Doris Spector Rome '47, physician, director of cytology laboratory at Albany Medical Center, doctor of humane letters

1963

Vera Micheles Dean, authority on international development, research director of Foreign Policy Institute, doctor of humane letters

1964

Margaret Fonde Jonsson, Dallas civic leader and first lady, Skidmore benefactor, master of letters

Margaret Chase Smith, U.S. Senator from Maine, first woman elected to both branches of Congress, doctor of humane letters

1965

Esther Raushenbush, Sarah Lawrence College president-elect, doctor of humane letters

1966

Richard Eberhart, poet and professor of English, founder of Poet's Theatre, doctor of letters

Ada Louise Huxtable, architecture and design critic, "lover of cities", doctor of humane letters

1967

Jacqueline Grennan, teacher, former Sister of Loretto, president of Missouri's Webster College, doctor of laws

Frances Steloff, founder of Gotham Book Mart in New York City, endower of Skidmore lecture series, doctor of humane letters

Frank Sullivan, humorist, New Yorker columnist, author, doctor of humane letters

1968

George Boyd, Skidmore trustee, principal donor of Bolton Hall, doctor of humane letters

Edward Brooke, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, doctor of laws

Agnes Gelinas, Skidmore professor of nursing, doctor of humane letters

Helen Filene Ladd '22, Skidmore philanthropist, doctor of humane letters

1969

Helen Frankenthaler, New York City abstract painter, doctor of humane letters

Ruth G. Weintraub, political scientist, early advocate of graduate education for women, doctor of laws

Roger L. Stevens, real estate magnate, producer of Broadway plays, doctor of humane letters

1970

Melissa Hayden, New York City Ballet soloist, ballet teacher, doctor of letters

Charles E. Goodell, U.S. Senator from New York, doctor of humane letters

1971

Katherine Scranton Rosendaal, Skidmore trustee, civic leader at local, state, and national levels, doctor of humane letters

Violette Verdy, French-born New York City Ballet soloist, doctor of humane letters

Edward Villella, New York City Ballet soloist, choreographer, doctor of letters

1972

E. Alice Moshier '22, Skidmore faculty member, doctor of humane letters

Everett V. Stonequist, Skidmore sociologist, author, housing activist, doctor of laws

Constance Eberhardt Cook lawyer, crusader for equal rights, New York State legislator, doctor of laws

1973

Dr. Aileen Ward, English professor

John Keats, biographer, doctor of letters

Catherine Mackin, newspaper and television journalist, master of letters

1974

Avery R. Fisher, musician and philanthropist, doctor of humane letters

Harold C. Martin, literary scholar, president of Union College, doctor of letters

Mary Parkman Peabody, civil rights activist (mother of Marietta Tree, grandmother of Frances FitzGerald), doctor of laws

Marietta Peabody Tree, former ambassador to the United Nations, doctor of laws

Frances FitzGerald, Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction writer, doctor of letters

1975

Charlotte W. Fahey, Skidmore chemistry professor, doctor of humane letters

Helen Hayes, actress, doctor of letters

Sabra J. Hook, Skidmore biology professor, doctor of humane letters

Margaret Paulding, Skidmore physical education professor, doctor of humane letters

1976

Dr. Carl Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist, author, doctor of humane letters

1977

F. Donald Myers, educator, superintendent of Saratoga-Warren Counties Board of cooperative Education Services, doctor of laws

Ewald B. Nyquist, commissioner of education and president of the University of the State of New York, doctor of humane letters

1978

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator from New York, doctor of laws

1979

George I. Davis, insurance executive, 25-year Skidmore trustee, doctor of letters

Catherine Filene Shouse, civic and cultural leader, creator of Wolf Trap Farm Park for the performing arts, doctor of humane letters

Joseph H. Hirshhorn, financier, art connoisseur, doctor of humane letters

Anne Wexler '51, political activist, assistant to U.S. President Jimmy Carter, doctor of laws

1980

Arnold Bernhard, investment analyst, Skidmore trustee and benefactor, doctor of humane letters

F. William Harder, banker, Skidmore parent, trustee, and benefactor, doctor of laws

Elizabeth Holtzman, U.S. Representative from New York, doctor of laws

1981

John Cheever, writer of short stories and novels, doctor of letters

Nell Nugent '60, Broadway producer, doctor of humane letters

Florence Howe, professor, founder of National Women's Studies Association, doctor of letters

Benjamin L. Hooks, director of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, doctor of laws

1982

John J. Martin, author, New York Times dance editor and critic, doctor of humane letters

Dorothy Dehner '52, painter and sculptor, doctor of humane letters

Virginia Weiffenbach Kettering, Dayton, Ohio, civic and cultural leader, health-care philanthropist, doctor of laws

Henry D. Paley, educator, president of Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York State, doctor of laws

1983

Donald E. Reutershan, insurance executive and Skidmore trustee, doctor of laws

Delbert C. Staley, chair and CEO of New York Telephone Company, doctor of laws

Gloria Wasserman Sachs '47, designer of women's clothing, doctor of letters

James C. Cooney, chief of security, master of letters

David McCullough, social historian and author, doctor of humane letters

1984

Sophie Maslow, Martha Graham-trained modern dancer, choreographer, doctor of humane letters

Lewis A. Swyer, Albany businessman and civic leader, president of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, doctor of laws

Louise Beinetti Wise '40, Skidmore volunteer, trustee, and former administrator, doctor of humane letters

M. Elizabeth Peters Tidball, physiology researcher, advocate for women in the sciences, doctor of humane letters

John Kemeny, Hungarian-born mathematician-philosopher, co-author of Basic computer language, professor and president of Dartmouth College, doctor of humane letters

George Ladd Jr., director and president of Filene Foundation, Skidmore benefactor, doctor of humane letters

1985

Otto Whittmann, museum director, doctor of humane letters

Miriam J. Benkovitz, critic and biographer, Skidmore English professor, doctor of letters

Denis B. Kemball-Cook, oil company executive, Skidmore trustee, doctor of laws

1986

Charlayne Hunter Gault, print journalist, television correspondent, doctor of laws

David McCord, writer of children's verse, Harvard administrator, doctor of letters

Hannelore Hahn, author, founder of International Women's Writing Guild, doctor of letters

George H. Colton, businessman, Dartmouth administrator-fundraiser, Skidmore trustee, doctor of laws

1987

Richard Wilbur, poet, essayist, translator, editor, doctor of humane letters

Lena Rose Spencer, founder of Caffe Lena folk-music coffeehouse in Saratoga Springs, doctor of humane letters

William Manchester, journalist, historian, teacher, author, doctor of letters

Joseph C. Palamountain, Jr., political scientist, fourth president of Skidmore College, doctor of laws

1988

Dolores E. Cross, educator, and financial-aid administrator, doctor of letters

Twyla Tharp, dancer and choreographer, doctor of humane letters

Arthur Miller, playwright, doctor of letters

David Riesman, sociologist and author, doctor of humane letters

1989

Nancy S. Graves, sculptor, painter, printmaker, film producer and stage designer, doctor of humane letters

Frank H. Rhodes, geologist, proponent of liberal arts, president of Cornell University, doctor of laws

1990

Vartan Gregorian, Brown University president, doctor of laws

Wilma Stein Tisch '48, philanthropist, doctor of humane letters

Milton J. Hinton, jazz bassist, doctor of humane letters

1991

James E. McCabe, corporate executive, Skidmore administrator and trustee, doctor of laws

John S. Morris, minister, Union College president, Skidmore trustee, doctor of letters

Courtney Sale Ross '70, art curator, interior designer, filmmaker, doctor of humane letters

1992

Robert D. Ballard, explorer, geologist, oceanographer, engineer, doctor of laws

Bette Bao Lord, author, civic leader, expert on the Chinese-American experience, doctor of letters

Helen A. Thomas, Washington correspondent for the United Press International, doctor of humane letters

1993

Charles T. Close, portrait painter, doctor of humane letters

Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, educator and sociologist, doctor of laws

Gordon Parks, photographer and filmmaker, doctor of letters

Maya Angelou, poet and civil-rights activist, doctor of letters

1994

Ruby Puryear Hearn '60, biophysicist, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation vice president, doctor of laws

Walter J. Turnbull, founder and executive director of Boys Choir of Harlem, doctor of humane letters

Laurence Tisch, chair of the board of CBS, Inc., philanthropist, Skidmore benefactor, doctor of laws

1995

Johnnetta B. Cole, teacher, president of Spelman College, doctor of laws

Judith Pick Eissner '64, 24-year member of Skidmore board of trustees, doctor of humane letters

Paul Taylor, dancer, choreographer, doctor of humane letters

1996

Marian Wright Edelman, attorney, founder of Children's Defense Fund, doctor of laws

Charles Kuralt, essayist, journalist, originator of TV feature "On the Road," doctor of humane letters

Donna Shalala (non-commencement), professor, college president, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, doctor of laws

1997

Jacqueline K. Barton, DNA researcher, professor at California Institute of Technology, doctor of laws

Peter S. Lynch, author, former portfolio manager of the Magellan Fund, doctor of laws

Anne Tonnesen Palamountain, civic leader, former Skidmore first lady, originator of annual polo benefit for scholarships, doctor of humane letters

1998

Helen L. Porter, Skidmore first lady, restorer and historian of Scribner House, bachelor of arts

Myles A. Cane, attorney, venture-capital investor, chair of Skidmore board of trustees, octor of laws

David H. Porter, classicist, and musician, fifth president of Skidmore College, doctor of letters

Susan Kettering Williamson '59, philanthropist, 26-year member of Skidmore board of trustees, doctor of humane letters

1999

Kitty Carlisle Hart, actress, singer, and chair emerita of New York State Council on the Arts, doctor of letters

David Hyde Pierce, actor, Saratoga Springs native, doctor of humane letters

Arthur Zankel, investment-business leader, Skidmore trustee and benefactor, doctor of laws

2000

Trisha Brown, dancer and choreographer, doctor of humane letters

Guido Calabresi, Judge of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, doctor of laws

W. Richard West, Director, Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, doctor of letters

Oscar Tang, philanthropist, investment banker, Skidmore trustee, doctor of humane letters

2001

Joseph L. Bruno '52, majority leader of NYS senate, doctor of laws

Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winning author, doctor of letters

Julianne Cartwright Traylor '68, human rights educator and diplomat, doctor of humane letters

2002

Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker and historian, doctor of letters

Arline M. Fisch '52, noted jewelry maker and craft artist, doctor of humane letters

Harold Hongju Koh, scholar and professor of international law, former Asst. Secretary of State, doctor of laws

Sara Lee Lubin Schupf '62, philanthropist and leader in caused for women in science, Skidmore trustee, doctor of laws

2003

Joan Layng Dayton '63, chair, Skidmore board of trustees, leader and fundraiser, doctor of humane letters

Ellen V. Futter, president, American Museum of Natural History, former president of Barnard College, doctor of laws

Anne Deavere Smith, actor, playwright, author, and university professor, doctor of letters

2004

David Halberstam, historian, biographer, journalist, doctor of humane letters

Bruce Lundvall, recording executive, involved in Skidmore Summer Jazz Institute, doctor of humane letters

Toshiko Takaezu, world renowned ceramists, faculty of Skidmore's Summer SIX art program, doctor of humane letters

2005

Carolyn Patty Blum PS '05, authority in the areas of refugee and human rights laws, doctor of laws

Phil Ramone PS '05, recording industry producer, doctor of humane letters

Tim Russert, NBC Bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press, political analyst, doctor of humane letters

2006

Douglas Greenberg PS '06, Professor of History, University of Southern California, and Executive Director of the university's Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, doctor of humane letters

Thomas Kean, former Governor of New Jersey and past President of Drew University, doctor of laws

Arthur Mitchell, Founder and Artistic Director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, doctor of humane letters

2007

Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent and formerly the anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News", doctor of letters

Linda Greenhouse, New York Times Supreme Court Correspondent since 1978, doctor of law

Nora Naranjo-Morse, distinguished sculptor, writer, and producer, doctor of humane letters 

2008

Ruth J. Colvin, founder of Literacy Volunteers of America; dedicated educator, speaker, and author, doctor of humane letters

Rita R. Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation; Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, doctor of law

Bill T. Jones, world-renowned dancer and choreographer, doctor of humane letters

2009

Carter F. Bales –Managing Partner Emeritus & Co-Founder, The Wicks Group of Companies, LLC, doctor of humane letters 

Fred Wilson – artist and Luce Distinguished Visiting Fellow for the Program in Object Exhibition and Knowledge at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, doctor of humane letters

2010

Sir Clive Gillinson - executive and artistic director at Carnegie Hall and partner in the Academy Program with Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute, doctor of humane letters

Gwen Ifill - journalist, television newscaster, and author, managing editor and moderator for Washington Week and senior correspondent for The NewsHour, doctor of letters

Gregory Howard Williams - president, University of Cincinnati and author of Life on the Color Line, doctor of letters

2011

Anne Bogart - American theater director, co-founder and artistic director of the SITI Company, doctor of humane letters

Colin E. Greene, a 2001 graduate of the University Without Walls Program, principal of the largest secondary school in Antigua, member of the Board of Education International, doctor of humane letters

James M. McPherson - The George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History Emeritus at Princeton University,  author, doctor of letters

2012

Terence Blanchard, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and Golden globe-nominated film score composer, doctor of humane letters

Ron Chernow, prize-winning author of five previous books. His first, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award. His two most recent books, Alexander Hamilton and Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, were both nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, doctor of letters

Suzanne Corbet Thomas '62, chair of the Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2008. Member of the board since 1989 and the ultimate Skidmore Ambassador, doctor of humane letters

 2013

David Brooks, political and cultural commentator, regular columnist for The New York Times, and analyst for National Public Radio, doctor of letters 

Cynthia Blum Carroll '78, mining industry leader, Forbes magazine's "fourth most powerful woman in the world" in 2009, doctor of laws                                              

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