Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson and education advocate Ana Rowena Mallari will speak at the Class of 2022’s commencement ceremony this May. The College announced the speakers in an email to the community on March 29.
Wilkerson, an accomplished journalist, author, and speaker, will deliver the commencement speech to the graduating class. Wilkerson is both a Pulitzer Prize winner and National Humanities Medal recipient.
She is the author of the best-selling book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” which is currently being adapted into a Netflix film.
Wilkerson is also the author of “The Warmth of Other Suns,” which gained national attention when President Barack Obama listed it in his 2011 summer reading list. The book was also named among the best books of all time by the New York Times Magazine.
The College wrote the following about Wilkerson in the official announcement of the speakers:
“Wilkerson tells stories of migration and reinvention and the enduring search for the American dream, and she has become an impassioned voice for demonstrating how history can help us understand ourselves, the country, and the current era of upheaval.”
Mallari was announced as the baccalaureate event speaker. Mallari is an advocate for education and is the co-founder of QuestBridge, a nonprofit organization which aims to help low-income and first-generation students in achieving higher education. Mallari currently serves as the CEO and board chair of QuestBridge. The College started its partnership with QuestBridge in 2015, and has since enrolled more than 280 QuestBridge Scholars, including 175 in the past four years.
Alessandra Amano ’22 is looking forward to hearing from Wilkerson and Mallari at her commencement ceremony.
“I’m definitely excited to hear from both of the speakers and am looking forward to what they have to tell us at graduation,” Amano said. “I was not initially super familiar with either of them, but after reading a little about Isabel Wilkerson I am really looking forward to hearing her talk about her books. I think it will be really inspiring to hear from the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, and it will be interesting to hear how she talks about her experiences at graduation and relates them back to us as we leave Colby.”
The College will also be granting honorary degrees to several accomplished people. Maulian Dana, Michael Gordon ’66, Ana Rowena Mallari, Eric Rosengren ’79, Dr. Nirav Shah, Wilkerson, and Jamie Wyeth will all receive honorary degrees this May.
~ Veronica McIntyre `24