Claremont, Calif. (March 11, 2014) — The Pitzer College Class of 2014 has selected environmental advocate, civil rights activist and CNN correspondent Van Jones as its 50th Anniversary commencement speaker. The 2014 ceremony will be held on the Stephen L. Glass Commencement Plaza on May 17 at 10 a.m.
Recently named a co-host on CNN’s Crossfire, Van Jones is president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help fix the US economy. In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs adviser to the Obama White House, where he helped run the inter-agency process that oversaw $80 billion in green energy recovery spending. He is the founder of Green For All, a national organization working to develop green jobs in disadvantaged communities. He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act, which was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007. The Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” Under the Obama administration, it has resulted in $500 million for green-job training nationally.
While perhaps best known as a pioneer in the environmental movement, Jones has worked for social justice for nearly two decades, fashioning solutions to some of urban America’s toughest problems. He is the co-founder of two social justice organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and ColorOfChange.org. As an environmentalist and social activist, Jones emphasizes the connection between the health of the environment and the health of the economy.
Van Jones is the author of two New York Times best sellers: The Green Collar Economy, the definitive book on green jobs, and Rebuild the Dream, a roadmap for progressives in 2012 and beyond. He was named as one of Rolling Stones‘ 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done in 2012, TIME‘s Most Influential People in the World in 2009 and Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth.
Jones received his juris doctor degree from Yale Law School in 1993 and started a lawyer-referral service for victims of police abuse in San Francisco, Calif. at the age of 25.
Following Pitzer College tradition, the Class of 2014 will also select a member of the staff or administration to be its honored guest and a member of the faculty to be its student marshal.
President Laura Skandera Trombley will give the opening remarks. Kyle Roland ’14 will introduce the senior class gift and Alumni Board President Tracy M. Trindle ’83 will give the alumni greeting. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Muriel E. Poston will present the graduating class. Trombley will join Robin Kramer ’75, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Registrar Eva Peters to confer diplomas on the Class of 2014.
The 50th Anniversary Commencement will be broadcast live at 10 a.m. on May 17.