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President of Ford Foundation, Darren Walker, to Deliver Commencement Address at Sarah Lawrence College PDF Print Email


By Patricia Pasquale, Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Communications, Sarah Lawrence College

May 16, 2018:  Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, the renowned international social justice philanthropy organization, will give the address at Sarah Lawrence College’s 90th Commencement on Friday, May 18.

The ceremonies will be held at 10:00 am on Westlands South Lawn. The commencement will be broadcast live; details are available at

Widely known for his role in helping to bring a resolution to the City of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and for revitalizing Harlem in the 1990s, Walker oversees the Ford Foundation’s more than $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grantmaking.

As a member of the first class to attend Head Start in 1965, Walker speaks frequently on how the program helped to spark his imagination and give him a view of the larger world.

Raised in a rural Texas town by his mother, he attributed his success to the love and acceptance of his family in helping him to always feel supported and comfortable with his identity as a gay black man.

“We could not have hoped for a more dynamic and relevant speaker for our 90th commencement ceremonies,’’ said Sarah Lawrence president Cristle Collins Judd. “Not only has Darren Walker been a transformative leader in the nonprofit world for more than two decades, but his personal story of achievement resonates deeply with our mission here at Sarah Lawrence.’’

Today, Walker is a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. He chairs the US Alliance on Impact Investing and co-chairs New York City’s Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and he serves on the Commission on the Future of Riker’s Island Correctional Institution and the UN International Labor Organization Commission on the Future of Work. He also serves on the boards of Carnegie Hall, the High Line, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Before joining the Ford Foundation, Walker was a vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs including the Rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, as COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation—Harlem’s largest community development organization—he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization strategy, including building over 1,000 units of affordable housing and the first major commercial development in Harlem since the 1960s. Earlier, he had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and UBS.

Educated exclusively in public schools, he graduated with a BA and a JD from the University of Texas at Austin, which in 2009 recognized him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award—its highest alumni honor.

He has been included in numerous annual media lists, including TIME’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the World, Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative People, and OUT magazine’s Power 100.

He is the recipient of 13 honorary degrees and university awards, including the DuBois Medal from Harvard University.

Pictured here:  Darren Walker, commencement speaker at the 2018 Sarah Lawrence commencement.

Photo courtesy the Ford Foundation

Editor's note:  As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes press releases, statements, and articles from local institutions, officeholders, candidates, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.


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Adult Education Directory

Bronxville Adult School

About the Bronxville Adult School & Contacts

The Bronxville Adult School is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1957 and chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. The School "offers all adults of Bronxville and surrounding communities the opportunity for personal growth through life enhancing skills and provides cultural, intellectual and recreational stimulation at a nominal cost."

The Bronxville Adult School
(914) 793-4435
P.O. Box 334, Bronxville NY 10708

Bronxville Public Library

Bronxville Public Library

The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.

The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.

The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children.  All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.

The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)

Concordia College

Concordia College Adult Education

Concordia College was founded in 1881. It is a four-year, co-educational liberal arts college located in Bronxville. Concordia's Accelerated Degree Programs are designed to give you the skills to be competitive in your chosen career or in graduate school. 

Concordia College - New York
171 White Plains Road
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Sarah Lawrence College

Sarah Lawrence College 

1 Mead Way
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