2018 Commencement Recap

May 13, 2018

The Class of 2018 received their diplomas during Pomona College’s 125th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 13, 2018 at Marston Quad.

Political theorist Danielle Allen and legal scholar Kenji Yoshino delivered speeches to the graduates and received honorary degrees. See their bios below.

In addition, President G. Gabrielle Starr provided a Charge to the Class of 2018, while Sophia Sun '18, senior class president and María José Vides Orellana '18, senior class speaker, addressed the audience. View the entire 2018 Commencement Exercises.

Danielle Allen

Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Danielle Allen has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology and the history of political thought. She currently serves as the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Allen is the author and co-editor of several books. Her latest book, “Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.” (2017), is a scholar’s fierce critique of the American prison system based on a family memoir and anguish of losing her younger cousin.

Allen is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project, a research and action lab at Harvard that seeks to identify, strengthen and disseminate the bodies of knowledge, and capacities that democratic citizens need in order to succeed at operating their democracy.

She is chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Danielle Allen’s speech [video]

Kenji Yoshino

Kenji Yoshino is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University (NYU) School of Law. A former Rhodes Scholar, Yoshino is a research expert in anti-discrimination law, constitutional law and literature.

Familiar to Pomona College, Yoshino’s book, “Covering,” was the first-year book selection in 2009. His latest book, “Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial” (2015) is a comprehensive and thoughtful conversation on same-sex marriage in the U.S.

Yoshino taught at Yale Law School from 1998 to 2008, where he served as deputy dean and the inaugural Guido Calabresi Professor of Law. He makes regular appearances on NPR, CNN, PBS and MSNBC and has contributed pieces for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

He also serves on the advisory board of the Center for Talent Innovation, the board of the Brennan Center for Justice, the external advisory panel for diversity and inclusion for the World Bank Group and the global advisory board for Out Leadership. 

Kenji Yoshino’s speech [video]