Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner Selected as Colgate University’s Commencement Speaker

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Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, New York Times critic at large, and co-host of the podcast Still Processing, Wesley Morris will provide remarks at Colgate University’s 201st commencement, Sunday, May 22. 

Morris, a 1997 graduate of Yale University, joined the New York Times in 2015 after a long stint at The Boston Globe, where he earned his first Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2012. At the New York Times Morris has covered a wide gamut of entertainment and cultural touchpoints, and in 2021 he won his second Pulitzer Prize for criticism for a series of essays exploring the intersection of race and pop culture. Morris has the distinction of being the only writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism twice. 

The Pulitzer Prize committee praised Morris in 2021, “for unrelentingly relevant and deeply engaged criticism on the intersection of race and culture in America, written in a singular style, alternately playful and profound.”

In addition to Morris, the following individuals will receive honorary degrees at Colgate’s Commencement: 

Robert Audi ’63

A Colgate graduate who earned his MA and PhD at the University of Michigan, Audi is a John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Audi is internationally known for his books and lectures on topics related to ethics and political philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of mind and action, and philosophy of religion. He was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018.   

Linda Griffith

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Teaching Innovation Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering Linda Griffith is a world-renowned biological engineer who also directs the MIT Center for Gynepathology Research. A 2016 MacArthur fellow, Griffith serves as a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and, in 2021, she was elected into the National Academy of Medicine for her research and teaching related to tissue engineering, biomaterials, and systems biology. 

Jean Morrison ’80

Jean Morrison became the first female provost and chief academic officer at Boston University in 2011. Since then, Morrison has served as BU’s leader for overall academic, budgetary, and planning processes, along with oversight of its academic programs, research, global programs, enrollment, and student affairs. A professor of earth and environment, Morrison attended the University of Georgia and University of Wisconsin–Madison after graduating from Colgate.

James A. Smith ’70

When Colgate embarked upon a celebration of its Bicentennial, historian James Allen Smith was the historian called upon to write an in-depth book, Becoming Colgate, about the University’s history. A Colgate graduate and former Woodrow Wilson fellow, Smith received a Ph.D. In medieval history from Brown University and has conducted research as a Fulbright scholar in Belgium The author of four books, he has taught at Smith College, the New School, and Georgetown University. Smith was founding executive director of the Howard Gilman Foundation, chairman of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and vice president of the Rockefeller Archive Center. He also has served on Colgate’s Alumni Council and Board of Trustees.