Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, will deliver Hamilton College’s 2018 Commencement address and receive an honorary degree on Sunday, May 20, at 10:30 a.m., in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House.
In addition to Walker, honorary degrees will be awarded to Nan Aron, founder of Alliance for Justice; John Rice ’78, former vice chairman of General Electric and Hamilton College life trustee; and Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the think tank New America. Slaughter will offer the Baccalaureate address on Saturday, May 19, at 3 p.m., in the Scott Field House. Four hundred eighty students will receive bachelor’s degrees during Hamilton’s Commencement ceremony.
Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grantmaking. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and is co-founder and chair of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.
Saturday, May 19, 3 p.m.,
Scott Field House
Sunday, May 20, 10:30 a.m.
Scott Field House
The Baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies can be viewed
Before joining Ford, Walker served as vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs including the Rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, as COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation—Harlem’s largest community development organization—he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization strategy, including building over 1,000 units of affordable housing and the first major commercial development in Harlem since the 1960s. Earlier, he had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS.
Walker co-chairs New York City’s Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and serves on the Commission on the Future of Riker’s Island Correctional Institution, and the UN International Labor Organization Commission on the Future of Work.
Educated exclusively in public schools, Walker was a member of the first class of Head Start in 1965 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, which in 2009 recognized him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award—its highest alumni honor.
He has been included on numerous annual media lists, including Time’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the World, Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative People, and OUT Magazine’s Power 100.
Attorney Nan Aron is the founder and president of Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a judicial advocacy group in the United States.
She is nationally recognized for her expertise in public interest law, the federal judiciary and citizen participation in public policy. Aron guides AFJ and its two programs, the Bolder Advocacy Initiative and the Justice Program, to secure the rights of all Americans to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives. The Bolder Advocacy Initiative has trained and assisted thousands of nonprofits and foundations on the importance of advocacy. Under her leadership, the Judicial Selection Project is the premier voice on the critically important role the federal courts play.
Aron is the author of Liberty and Justice for All: Public Interest Law in the 1980s and Beyond.
Prior to founding AFJ, she was a staff attorney for the ACLU’s National Prison Project, where she challenged conditions in state prison systems through lawsuits in federal and state courts. As a trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Aron litigated race and sex discrimination cases against companies and unions in federal and district courts.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Aron has taught at Georgetown and George Washington University Law Schools, and serves on the Dean's Advisory Council at American University’s Washington College of Law.
John G. Rice ’78
Until recently, Hamilton College life trustee John G. Rice was vice chairman of GE, and since November 2010, had led the company’s global operations based in Hong Kong and Atlanta, Ga. He retired from GE effective April 1, 2018.
Rice began his GE career in 1978 and held several leadership positions based both in the United States and in other global markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada. Immediately prior to his most recent role, he served as vice chairman of GE and president & CEO of GE Technology Infrastructure; from 2005-2007 as vice chairman of GE’s industrial and infrastructure businesses; from 2000-2005 as president and CEO of GE Energy; and from 1997-2000 as president & CEO of GE Transportation.
He graduated from Hamilton in 1978 with a degree in economics. Rice is a trustee of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., and serves on several other boards including Li and Fung Limited; Baker Hughes, a GE Company; the International Advisory Board of the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; and the Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is president and CEO of New America. Founded in 1999, New America is a think tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. Slaughter is also the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.
From 2009-2011 she served as the director of policy planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Prior to her government service, Slaughter was dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002 to 2009 and the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School from 1994 to 2002.
She has written or edited seven books, including The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World; Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family; and A New World Order.” Slaughter is a frequent contributor to a number of publications, including The Atlantic, Financial Times, and Project Syndicate.
In 2012, Slaughter published “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in The Atlantic, which quickly became the most-read article in the history of the magazine and helped spark a renewed national debate on the continued obstacles to genuine full male-female equality.