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Commencement Forum: Interconnectivity and Celebrating Our Graduates

2019 Commencement Forum

Please join us for a champagne toast in honor of our 2019 graduates!

On Friday, May 17 at 4:00 pm, the afternoon prior to the Claremont Graduate University commencement ceremony, we invite you and your guests to the annual Commencement Forum, a celebratory event comprising a champagne toast to our graduates, the recording of a podcast featuring the three 2019 honorary degree recipients, student awards, and interactive academic displays. The forum will take place at the home of President Len Jessup and his wife Kristi Staab.

Three distinguished figures have been selected to receive honorary doctorate degrees at this year’s commencement. The forum offers you an opportunity to introduce yourself to them, hear them speak, and welcome them to Claremont in advance of the ceremony the following day.

The three individuals receiving honorary doctorates are recognized as prominent figures in human rights leadership and scholarship: acclaimed South African LGBTQ activist Bev Palesa Ditsie, an important voice in the fight for the world’s first constitutional protection of LGBTQ individuals and the first openly lesbian woman to address the United Nations about considering the realities of LGBTQ people in the protection of human rights; MacArthur Fellow and psychologist Betsy Levy Paluck, whose work has provided new insights into strategies for reducing patterns of discrimination, bullying, and ethnic conflict in contexts ranging from American high schools to post-conflict Rwanda; and Laughlin McDonald, who has been at the center of major cases involving voter access and equality as the longtime director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

Ditsie, Paluck, and McDonald will be empaneled in a podcast in front of forum guests. The Commencement Forum is organized by CGU’s Transdisciplinary Studies Program and moderated by Associate Provost and Transdisciplinary Studies Director Andrew Vosko.

Focusing on the theme of “interconnectivity,” this year’s forum will explore the many ways in which a society is drawn together and defines itself; the global reach of social justice work in localized societies; and the ways that activism, leadership, and scholarship empower individuals to change society.

The layout of this year’s forum will be organized around “activity hubs,” showcasing examples of CGU’s own contributions to interconnectivity. These will include the Paul Gray Personal Computing Museum on how technology connects us; the Tufts Poetry Awards with the Foothill Journal, exploring how the written and spoken word touches each of us in myriad ways;  and others, each investigating the unifying and connecting power of the academic world and beyond.

An award ceremony honoring outstanding students in transdisciplinary studies will follow the podcast.

The forum will be held on Friday, May 17 at 4:00 pm at the president’s house, 709 Harvard Avenue, Claremont. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP is requested.


For more information, please email Mary Romo, Associate Director, Events & Community Engagement.