New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community leader Julie Lythcott-Haims will deliver the keynote address for the 132nd Commencement of the University of Puget Sound on Sunday, May 5, 2024, and receive an honorary degree.

Lythcott-Haims gained widespread acclaim for her book How to Raise an Adult, born from her tenure as the former dean of freshmen at Stanford University. Her insightful TED Talk, “How to Raise Successful Kids—Without Overparenting,” has captivated millions, sparking a national dialogue on parenting and fostering independence in college students. Her memoir Real American delves into her experiences as a Black biracial woman navigating predominantly white environments, while her latest work, Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, offers practical guidance for embracing adulthood.

Lythcott-Haims holds degrees from Stanford University, Harvard Law School, and California College of the Arts. Currently serving on the Board of Trustees at California College of the Arts, she is also a respected member of the Palo Alto City Council. Recognized as Legislator of the Year by the NAACP of Silicon Valley, Lythcott-Haims’s impact extends far beyond the written word.

Joining Lythcott-Haims is Liz Begert Dunbar, former executive director of Tacoma Community House, who will receive an honorary degree. Dunbar led the Tacoma Community House from 2009 to 2018, helping to serve immigrants, refugees, and others seeking to learn English, get a GED, gain citizenship, and find employment. She previously worked for the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services, first as the state refugee coordinator and later as deputy secretary. She is the daughter of a Japanese immigrant mother and an Air Force officer father. She also serves on the board of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the advisory board for the School of Urban Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Washington State University and a certificate for senior leaders in state and local government from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 

Dunbar’s advocacy for immigrants, refugees, and underserved communities has left an indelible mark on the Tacoma region. 

"We are honored to welcome Julie Lythcott-Haims and Liz Dunbar to our Commencement ceremony," said President Isiaah Crawford. "Their remarkable achievements and dedication to service embody the values we cherish at Puget Sound, and we look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates alongside these inspiring individuals."

Puget Sound’s 132nd Commencement Ceremony will take place from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at Baker Stadium, Peyton Field. For more information about this year’s ceremony, visit