In addition to Zucker, honorary degrees will be awarded to former LaGuardia Community College president Gail Mellow, and Elaine Weiss, author of the critically acclaimed The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, and a 1973 graduate of Kirkland College, a women’s college that merged with Hamilton in 1978.
Mellow will offer the Baccalaureate address on Saturday, May 21, at 3 p.m., in the Scott Field House. A class of 505 students are expected to receive bachelor’s degrees during Hamilton’s Commencement ceremony. Guests are welcome to attend both ceremonies, but must be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
Gillian Zucker ’90
President of Business Operations, LA Clippers
As president of business operations of the LA Clippers, Gillian Zucker leads all Clippers business functions as well as the Forum, the Agua Caliente Clippers and development of Intuit Dome, the future home of the Clippers that will open for the 2024-25 NBA season.
Zucker secured close to $1 billion in partnership revenue for the team and Intuit Dome around the groundbreaking of the new arena, while driving industry-leading innovations and advancements in the fan experience and sustainability. She has also spearheaded the transformation of the Clippers’ in-arena experience and brand positioning, led substantial growth of ticketing, partnership and broadcast revenues and guided the development of Clippers CourtVision, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to transform the game-watching experience.
With more than 25 years of experience in the sports industry, Zucker has worked in all major U.S. sports. Her focus is creating a culture of constant improvement and a fan-first philosophy, using innovation and strategic discipline to empower team efforts around operating as an elite championship organization. She is further committed to positioning the Clippers as a powerful community asset, positively impacting lives beyond the court.
Zucker has been honored by Los Angeles Magazine as one of 10 Wonder Women changing L.A., by CSQ Magazine as a Visionary in Sports and Entertainment, and by United Nation’s Women L.A. as a Champion of Change. She has also been named the Los Angeles Business Journal Executive of the Year, an All-Star by VenuesNow, and a Top Woman in Media by Cynopsis, and she is a multi-year member of the LA Business Journal’s LA500, a list of the most influential people in L.A.
Zucker serves on the Young Presidents Organization board and the board of directors of the global investment bank Houlihan Lokey.
Former President of LaGuardia Community College
Gail Mellow retired in 2019 from LaGuardia Community College, where she served as president since 2000. A member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, LaGuardia is a recognized leader among community colleges for conceptualizing and launching programs as well as teaching methods that become national innovations.
An expert on the history, development and future of the American community college, Mellow co-authored Minding the Dream: The Process and Practice of the American Community College. Her co-authored book Taking College Teaching Seriously: Pedagogy Matters relates to fostering student success through faculty-centered practice improvement.
Mellow is eager to raise the profile of community colleges and under her leadership, LaGuardia’s student enrollment and full-time faculty grew three-fold. External funding increased dramatically, with particular emphasis on workforce development programs and initiatives that support at-risk students.
Mellow is a national authority on the changing landscape of higher education, strategies for improving the nation’s graduation rate, and the important role community colleges play in growing America’s middle class and strengthening the economy. She has been extensively quoted in major publications, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on NPR, MSNBC and PBS broadcasts. Mellow received an associate’s degree from Jamestown Community College, a bachelor’s from SUNY Albany, and her master’s and Ph.D. in social psychology from George Washington University.
Elaine Weiss K’73
Author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote
Elaine Weiss is a 1973 graduate of Kirkland College, Hamilton’s former sister institution for women, and author of the critically acclaimed The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote.
In a long and varied journalism career, Weiss has worked as a Washington correspondent, congressional aide and speechwriter, magazine editor, and university journalism instructor. Her feature writing has been recognized with prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists, and her byline has appeared in many national publications, including The Atlantic, Harper’s, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Christian Science Monitor, as well as reports and documentaries for National Public Radio. Her long-form writing garnered a Pushcart Prize “Editor's Choice” award, and she is a MacDowell Colony Fellow.
Weiss’ first book, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army in the Great War was excerpted in Smithsonian Magazine online and featured on C-SPAN and public radio stations nationwide. Her most recent book, The Woman’ s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote (Viking/Penguin) has been hailed as a “riveting, nail-biting political thriller” with powerful parallels to today’s political environment. The Woman’s Hour was a Goodreads Readers’ Choice Award winner, short-listed for the 2019 Chautauqua Prize, and received the American Bar Association's highest honor, the 2019 Silver Gavel Award. Weiss’ next book, Spell Freedom, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2025.
While at Kirkland College, Weiss was in the first cohort of women to participate in Hamilton's Washington program, and she wrote for The Spectator. Following her Kirkland graduation, she earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Weiss is a popular public speaker, with engagements at the Library of Congress, Chautauqua Institution, and the New York Historical Society, among others. She is a frequent media commentator on women’s political organization and modern voting rights, with recent interviews on NPR’s All Things Considered, CBS Sunday Morning, and PBS American Experience.
Community members who are vaccinated, boosted, and masked are welcome to attend the ceremony.