Hilton Als to deliver Keynote Address at 2016 Commencement

Hilton Als to deliver Keynote Address at 2016 Commencement

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Hilton Als. Photo: Dominique Nabokov.
May 24, 2016
Hilton Als to deliver Keynote Address at 2016 Commencement

June 4, 2016

Rhode Island Convention Center
1 Sabin Street
Providence, RI 02903


On Saturday, June 4 at 10:30am, 491 undergraduate and 217 graduate students from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) will receive their diplomas at RISD’s 2016 Commencement. The ceremony will take place at the Rhode Island Convention Center in downtown Providence, where the annual RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition will also be on view.

This year RISD will present three honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees. Writer and critic Hilton Als is accepting an honorary degree and will also deliver the Commencement keynote address. Artist and writer Martha Rosler and educator and journalist Esther Wojcicki will accept honorary degrees at the ceremony as well. In addition, painter and educator Bunny Harvey (RISD ’67/MFA ’72 Painting, ’71 Masters of Arts in Teaching) is being honored with the 2016 Alumni Award for Artistic Achievement.

Best known for his incisive theater reviews for The New Yorker, Hilton Als has been chief theater critic since 2013 and a contributor to the magazine since 1989. As an author, he has written about race, gender and identity for more than a decade, with his most recent book, White Girls, nominated for a 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. Als also maintains a site called Et Als: My Life in Culture and presents talks on everything from the role of the critic to “bravery in poetry.” He often collaborates with artists, and in 2009 worked with the performer Justin Bond on Cold Water, an exhibition of paintings, drawings and videos at La MaMa Gallery, New York, before co-curating Self-Consciousness the following year at the Veneklasen Werner Gallery in Berlin.

Through her work in photo-montage, video, installation and performance art, Martha Rosler has long focused on the public sphere and issues of everyday life. Her pioneering work dates back to the mid 1960s when she first began conveying strong feminist and anti-war messages by contrasting domestic life with global politics, national security issues and depictions of conflict. Her diverse projects—from a traveling library and a community garden in Singapore to visual studies of airports—have been well received throughout the world. Rosler has earned numerous awards, including the inaugural prize from the New Foundation Seattle in 2015, which led to a multifaceted public project on homelessness and housing in that city. Her solo installation Meta-Monumental Garage Sale ran at the Museum of Modern Art in 2012 and the following year her book Culture Class offered critical thoughts on gentrification. In 1989 Rosler organized If You Lived Here…, a project in which artists, architects, activists and people experiencing homelessness addressed questions of who owns “the right to the city.” Her current exhibition If you can’t afford to live here, m-o-o-v-e! continues these efforts.

A leader in educational reform, Esther Wojcicki is passionate in her belief that young people respond best to learning from each other and through a smart use of digital resources. Her 2015 book Moonshots in Education: Launching Blended Learning in the Classroom focuses on digital and online learning in K–12 schools and what it takes for motivated teachers to achieve a successful “moonshot.” As the founder of the Palo Alto (CA) High School Media Arts Program, Wojcicki has inspired thousands of students to learn about themselves and the world by pushing the possibilities of producing content-rich newspapers, magazines, websites, videos and radio and television programs. She helped lead the Google Teacher Academy, was named California Teacher of the Year in 2002 and is actively involved in educational reform as both a consultant and board member. For many years, Wojcicki served as chair and then vice chair of the Board of Creative Commons and is now on the boards of the Center for the Collaborative Classroom and the Developmental Studies Center.

RISD’s exuberant commencement ceremony offers a festive culmination to years of creative exploration in the studio. To view the ceremony streaming live on June 4, visit commencement.risd.edu.

Contact: Danielle Mancuso, T 401 454 6334, [email protected]


Hilton Als to deliver Keynote Address at Rhose Island School of Design’s 2016 Commencement

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May 24, 2016

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