Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degrees

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I am pleased to announce the Commencement speaker and honorary degrees to be conferred at Puget Sound’s 128th and 129th Commencement Ceremonies on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

We are honored that Deborah Bial, founder and president of the Posse Foundation, will deliver the Commencement address to the classes of 2020 and 2021 and receive the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters; and that Karen P. Thomas, artistic director and conductor of Seattle Pro Musica, will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Music.

Ms. Bial not only is a MacArthur Fellow and the recipient of numerous recognitions for her work, including the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, she is also an engaged partner in Puget Sound’s dedication to student success. She is an education strategist who addresses the challenges of college access for underrepresented populations by identifying and fostering latent talent and opening opportunities to pursue higher education at select institutions. Since 2016 Puget Sound has been pleased to enroll and support students from Posse’s Bay Area program, working closely with Ms. Bial’s team.

Ms. Thomas is an exemplary musician, a prize-winning composer, and a leader who creates community through music. The recipient of numerous local, national, and international accolades, she is particularly noteworthy for promoting a diverse repertoire and for broadening inclusion. Her compositions are performed and broadcast throughout the world.

As a conductor, Ms. Thomas has produced eleven critically-acclaimed CDs, and received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award. She has appeared as guest conductor at international festivals in Europe and North America, and received a 2018 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award and the 2012 Outstanding Choral Director Award for Washington State. She currently serves on the boards of Chorus America and the American Choral Directors Association (NW Division).

Please join me in thanking all those who participated in the selection of these impressive honorands. I look forward to celebrating with you next month.

With my congratulations to the Classes of 2020 and 2021,

Isiaah
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President