Skip to content

Commencement 2019 Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Clark University’s 115th Commencement will begin on the campus green at noon on Sunday, May 19.

I am pleased to announce that our Commencement speaker this year is Jeffrey Lurie ’73, successful businessman, filmmaker, and owner of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, the 2018 Super Bowl champions. Lurie is also a compassionate and dedicated philanthropist. Immediately after purchasing the Eagles, he pledged to improve the health outcomes for at-risk youth across the Philadelphia region. The Eagles Charitable Foundation, originally founded in 1995, has enhanced the lives of more than one million children through its health and education programs. In 2017, Lurie launched the Eagles Autism Challenge, which has raised more than $2.5 million toward autism research. Under his ownership, the Eagles have been widely recognized across the NFL for their advocacy of social justice and human rights initiatives. Lurie earned the 2018 Paul “Tank” Younger Award, given annually to an NFL executive, coach, or owner who promotes racial and gender diversity. He also is an accomplished film producer whose documentaries, Inside Job and Inocente, earned Academy Awards. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Additionally, we are pleased to confer honorary degrees upon the following individuals:

Padma Lakshmi ’92 is internationally known as a food expert, model, actress, entrepreneur, and author, as well as the recipient of the 2016 NECO Ellis Island Medal of Honor. She serves as host and executive producer of Bravo’s Emmy award-winning show Top Chef. Her popular books include the best-selling food memoir, Love, Loss and What We Ate. In 2009, Lakshmi co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America. She also serves as an ambassador for the American Civil Liberties Union, focusing on both immigrants’ rights and women’s reproductive rights. Lakshmi was recently appointed a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador with a focus on fighting inequality, discrimination, and empowering the disenfranchised. She has also been named a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

NOTE: Due to a filming conflict for a new show, Padma Lakshmi will not be able to attend the 2019 Commencement

Martha C. Nussbaum, Ph.D., is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and Law School at the University of Chicago. She has a particular interest in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, political philosophy, feminism, and ethics, including animal rights. Nussbaum is the author of numerous books including The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy; Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership; and most recently, The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis. She was awarded the 2016 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy and the 2018 Berggruen Prize in Philosophy. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Robert Stevenish, P ’86, a longtime member of the Clark Board of Trustees, has a deep history of impactful leadership in the corporate world. He served as president and chief operating officer of Modell’s Sporting Goods, chief executive officer of Trilegiant Corporation and NetMarket, and chairman and chief executive officer of Fedco. He has also held senior positions for Montgomery Ward, Hills Department Stores, and J.C. Penney. Stevenish is chairman of the board for Adler Germany and Myron Corporation USA, and serves on the board of directors for a host of companies, including Carolyn Kinder International. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

More information about Commencement is available here.


David P. Angel