Claremont, Calif. (February 26, 2019) – Pitzer College’s
Class of 2019 has selected award-winning
transgender actress, producer and equal rights advocate Laverne Cox to keynote
this year’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m. on campus.
Cox is a two-time Emmy-nominated actress and Emmy-winning
producer best known for her work on the critically acclaimed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Cox is the
first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted
television show and the first openly trans person to be nominated for an Emmy
in an acting category. She is also the
first trans woman of color to produce and star in her own television show,
VH1’s TRANSForm Me, which was
nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. Cox is the first trans woman of color to
appear on an American reality television program, VH1’s I Wanna Work for Diddy, for which she accepted the GLAAD Media Award
for “Outstanding Reality Program.” She also received GLAAD’s 2014 Stephen F.
Kolzak Award in recognition of her work promoting LGBTQ equality.
In addition to her acting, Cox is a renowned speaker who
encourages her audience to live more authentically.
Traditionally, each Pitzer graduating class selects its commencement keynote speaker. The members of the Class of 2019 also select their class speaker, student marshals and honored guest.
This year’s senior class speaker is Jacquelyn Aguilera. The student marshals are Menna Bizuneh, assistant professor economics and Barbara Junisbai, assistant professor of organizational studies. The class also selected Dan Hirsch, dean of campus life, as their honored guest.
This year’s faculty marshals are Melinda Herrold-Menzies, professor of environmental analysis and associate dean of faculty, and Claudia Strauss, professor of anthropology.
The 55th Pitzer College Commencement ceremony
will take place at the Stephen L. Glass Commencement Plaza.