Keynote Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient-Commencement Weekend - Carnegie Mellon University

Keynote Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient

Earl LewisEarl Lewis

President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Doctor of Humane Letters

Earl Lewis became the sixth president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in March 2013, and under his guidance the foundation has reaffirmed its commitment to the humanities, the arts and higher education by emphasizing the importance of continuity and change.

Lewis has championed the importance of diversifying the academy, enhancing graduate education, re-envisioning the liberal arts, exploring the role of digital tools for learning and connecting universities to their communities.

Prior to joining the foundation, Lewis, a noted social historian, was provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs and the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African-American Studies at Emory University. He previously held faculty appointments at the University of California at Berkeley (1984–89) and the University of Michigan (1989–2004). 

Lewis is the author and co-editor of seven books, including “The African American Urban Experience: Perspectives from the Colonial Period to the Present”; “Defending Diversity: Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan”; “Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White”; the award-winning “To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans”; “In Their Own Interests: Race, Class and Power in 20th Century Norfolk”; the 11-volume “The Young Oxford History of African Americans”; and the award-winning book series “American Crossroads.”

A native of Tidewater, Va., Lewis earned an undergraduate degree in history and psychology from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota. 

Lewis was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008. He earned the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota and the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award from the University of Michigan. He also has earned several honorary degrees.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Student Speaker

kueiSophie Rose Zucker (SHS 2016)

A member of the Science and Humanities Scholars Program, Sophie Rose Zucker is earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with University Honors and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing with College Honors.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Zucker has been an active member of the Carnegie Mellon community. She has been a four-year member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, serving on its executive board as vice president for recruitment.

Zucker was president of MORF, CMU’s feminist club, and has been involved in the annual MOSAIC Conference, which focuses on gender issues. This spring, she directed MORF’s production of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Zucker used her creative writing skills as editor-in-chief of The Oakland Review, CMU’s literary magazine, and has been a four-year member of its editorial board. She has been involved in the Chemistry Department’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater production, and this year wrote and directed the performance.

She is the daughter of Meira and David Zucker, and older sister to Deena, of Sylvania, Ohio. She graduated summa cum laude from the Cranbrook Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Following graduation, Zucker will work for Epic Systems of Madison, Wis., a software company for health care organizations. 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Honorary Degree Recipients

Holly Hunter (A 1980)

Robert S. Langer

Sonia Manzano (A 1972)

James R. Swartz (TPR 1966)