Geoffrey Canada, nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform, will deliver the keynote address at Colgate University's 188th commencement exercises at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 17 in Sanford Field House.
During the ceremony, Colgate will award Canada a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree.
Canada is the president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, an innovative, pioneering program that helps children succeed in school and life through a holistic system of education, social service and community-building programs.
His vision and energy have been instrumental in the success of the HCZ, and he is working with national leaders to bring the model to other cities. In 2005, US News and World Report named Canada one of "America's Best Leaders."
"Considered one of the most eminent minds in the non-profit realm, Mr. Canada has responded to difficult challenges by outfitting knowledge with a practical purpose," said Christopher Nulty, Colgate senior class president. "His is a story of innovation, of brilliance, and of passion -- and is undoubtedly someone whose wisdom will benefit the Class of 2009."
Along with Canada, 2009 honorary degree recipients include Melvyn Klein '63 as well as Lonnie Thompson and his wife Ellen Mosley-Thompson.
Klein is an entrepreneur, attorney, philanthropist and writer. After graduating from Colgate, he went to Columbia Law School before embarking on a successful career with Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette and founding GKH Partners, an investment company. President Ronald Reagan appointed Klein to the Grace Commission, which investigated waste and inefficiency in the Federal government. Klein has been a guest columnist for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times for many years, writing about entrepreneurship.
The Thompsons are among the world's leading researchers on climate change. Ellen Mosley-Thompson is Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Geography at Ohio State University. Lonnie Thompson is Distinguished University Professor in Ohio State's School of Earth Sciences. Working individually and as a team, they have helped reconstruct the Earth's climate history and document the effects of global warming.
Jerome Balmuth, Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of Philosophy and Religion, will deliver this year's Baccalaureate address. Colgate students and alumni consistently name Balmuth, a Colgate faculty member since 1954, as one of the most engaging professors.
See colgate.edu/commencement for more information.