Commencement Speaker 2021
Lewis & Clark College is proud to announce this year’s speaker at the virtual 148th commencement ceremony of the College of Arts and Sciences will be the Honorable Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The Ambassador was nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the United States Senate on February 23, 2021.
Lewis & Clark’s international focus is one of the College’s hallmarks. The College of Arts and Sciences has offered intensive Overseas and Off-Campus Study programs for nearly 60 years. Nearly two-thirds of our students take advantage of these academic programs, the majority of which take place in locations outside Western Europe. Additionally, our undergraduates come to us from more than 50 different countries, and our curriculum has long been rich with international perspectives that push learning beyond isolated approaches. And among other accolades earned, for eight out of the last 11 years, Lewis & Clark has been designated as a top school for producing Peace Corps volunteers.
“We are honored to have Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield join us this year,” said Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Professor Bruce Suttmeier. “Her new role at the forefront of international diplomacy could not be a better fit for Lewis & Clark and our focus on understanding and engaging with the wider world to solve the planet’s greatest challenges. And I especially want to thank our own Diplomat-in-Residence Niels Marquardt for his integral role in securing Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield as our distinguished speaker.”
United Nations Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens praises Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s “decades of experience on the frontlines of American foreign policy…”, saying the Ambassador has “demonstrated an ability to lead with compassion, integrity and an unwavering commitment to bridging divides with mutual understanding and respect.”
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s keynote address will also serve as the first guest lecture in the College’s newly launched Ambassador Edward J. Perkins Distinguished Speaker Series, named for the late Lewis & Clark Life Trustee. The series will bring high-level practitioners and experts in the art of diplomacy to campus each year to engage with students and the broader Portland community.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s connection to the late Ambassador Perkins has special significance: Ambassador Perkins was not only a personal mentor to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield; he was also three times her predecessor in senior diplomatic positions: US Ambassador to Liberia, Director General, and US Permanent Representative to the UN.