Pomona College Announces Speakers for 125th Commencement Ceremony

Danielle Allen, Kenji Yoshino, Commencement Speakers, 2018

Political theorist Danielle Allen and legal scholar Kenji Yoshino will deliver speeches and receive honorary degrees at Pomona College’s 125th Commencement Exercises at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 13 on the College’s Marston Quadrangle. More than 400 students from the Class of 2018 will receive their undergraduate degrees from Pomona.

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.

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. 

Pomona College’s 2018 Commencement Weekend will take place from Friday, May 11, through Sunday, May 13. All events are open to the public, except for the Class Day Dinner which requires tickets. For more information, visit pomona.edu/commencement.