2013 Commencement Speaker Announced

Janie Feldmann ’15, Staff Writer

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After a nearly yearlong search process, the Board of Trustees has announced  Reynold Levy as the 2013 commencement speaker.

Levy is the outgoing president of the Lincoln Center, a performance-art complex set in the heart of New York City. Among the many different buildings to the center’s name are the famous Avery Fisher Hall (formerly Philharmonic Hall) and the Metropolitan Opera House.

The 67 year-old president took his position in 2002 and, much like Dickinson College’s President William Durden ’71, helped oversee a period of growth and expansion for the Lincoln Center. In an article published in The New York Times chronicling the president’s career, Levy was credited with earning nearly $1.3 billion for the center and helping complete renovations to the facility during his tenure.

According to Karen Faryniak ’86, chief of staff and secretary of the college, the process of choosing a commencement speaker begins at least a year in advance of commencement and takes place among members of a committee.

“[Levy] was recommended by one of our trustees and everyone decided that he would be a great representative to speak at Dickinson ,” stated Faryniak.
“We use our connections through the trustees to determine a list of individuals who would have the interest and ability to come… members contribute names of nominees to determine the slate [of speakers and honorary degree recipients],” said Faryniak. “We do not make the final, public announcement until the slate is filled up, and that can often be close to graduation time.  The Board [of Trustees] and faculty members also meet to approve the slate, so there is a lot of preparation anticipating commencement.”
In addition to the commencement speaker, the Board of Trustees has also announced the names of individuals who will be receiving honorary degrees from the college. The individuals are Malcolm Wiener, a pre-historian and former anthropologist; Wilfried Müller, the rector of Bremen University; and Sam Rose ’58, an Emeritus trustee, real-estate developer, and philanthropist.  Rose will also endow the second annual sustainability award, worth $100,000, to recipient Lisa Jackson, who is the head of the EPA.  Jackson will also be the first African-American to receive this award.  Bill McKibben, last year’s recipient, will come back this year for residency.

“We like it when there is a connection between the candidates and Dickinson, instead of randomly choosing people,” said Faryniak. “There is typically a long list of potential nominees as well as new names.  We believe faculty and students will react well to the final decision, and we look forward to an enjoyable commencement ceremony.”

More information on commencement and the schedule of events will be released later on in the semester.