Skip to this page's content

Past Commencements

Congratulations, Class of 2012!

Check out our Highlights from Simmons College Commencement 2012 blog post on 300 The Fenway.

For its 107th Commencement Celebration on Friday, May 18, Simmons College welcomed two speakers whose work has imparted valuable advice to Class of 2012 graduates.

The 10 a.m. undergraduate ceremony was held at the Bank of America Pavilion, and featured award-winning journalist, Maria Hinojosa. The 2 p.m. ceremony for master's and doctoral degree students featured Carla Harris, managing director in the strategic client group at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

Known for having one of the most authentic voices in broadcast journalism, Maria Hinojosa is a trailblazer for women. A well-respected reporter, Ms. Hinojosa is credited with being the first Latina to break into such esteemed news organizations as NPR, CNN, and PBS.

Ms. Hinojosa has worked for 25 years to provide radio and television audiences with meaningful stories that illuminate a diverse America. She is the current Managing Editor and Host of the weekly NPR program Latino USA, Anchor of the talk show Maria Hinojosa: One on One on WGBH/La Plaza, and Contributing Correspondent for the Emmy Award-winning PBS program Need to Know. She previously was Senior Correspondent for the news magazine show NOW on PBS, and spent eight years as a CNN correspondent for urban affairs.

In 2010, Ms. Hinojosa launched The Futuro Media Group, a news organization that aims to create multi-platform, community-based journalism that celebrates the richness of the American experience. Ms. Hinojosa has received numerous accolades during her career, including two Emmy Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged, and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for her groundbreaking report "Child Brides: Stolen Lives." Hinojosa is the author of two books, including her memoir, Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son. She received a B.A. from Barnard College and an honorary degree from DePaul University.

Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and head of its Emerging Manager Platform, Carla Harris is a successful executive whose investment banking expertise spans more than two decades and a variety of industries including technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, and healthcare.

Ms. Harris has been included in Fortune magazine's list of "The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America," Black Enterprise magazine's "Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business," and Ebony's list of "15 Corporate Women at the Top." She also has been the recipient of the Women's Professional Achievement Award from Harvard University, the Women of Power Award from the National Urban League, and the Bill and Camille Cosby Award from Associated Black Charities.

Ms. Harris also is a well-known gospel singer who has performed in esteemed venues including Carnegie Hall, and has released several albums. She is the author of Expect to Win: Proven Strategies for Success from a Wall Street Vet and shares her unique perspectives on the blog, "Carla's Pearls."

Ms. Harris received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an A.B. in economics from Harvard University, magna cum laude. Ms. Harris also has received honorary degrees from several colleges and universities.

Honorary doctoral degrees were also awarded to the following individuals:

  • Vanessa Kirsch - A social entrepreneur dedicated to developing and scaling innovative solutions to social problems, Vanessa Kirsch's passion for social change has led her to launch three nonprofit organizations. Ms. Kirsch is the founder of New Profit Inc., a national venture philanthropy fund based in Cambridge, Mass. With the support of a small community of engaged philanthropists, New Profit provides financial and strategic resources to visionary social entrepreneurs to grow their innovations. She also founded Public Allies, a national youth service organization that encourages diverse leaders to strengthen communities and civic participation; and the Women's Information Network, which provides support, training, and political access to young women in Washington, D.C.

  • Robert Parris Moses - A dynamic leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Robert Parris Moses is best known for his courageous work to help secure voting rights for African Americans. Mr. Moses served as Field Secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1961, and later became Director of the Mississippi Voter Registration Project. Mr. Moses also is the founder of The Algebra Project, Inc., a program aimed at improving the quality of life for African American youth by helping them succeed in mathematics, and in emerging tech-based careers. The Algebra Project has assisted more than 40,000 students—kindergarten through high school—with curricula guides, teacher training, and peer coaching opportunities.

  • Carol Ochs - Carol Ochs has been a noted feminist theologian for nearly half a century. Her research, writing, and teaching encompass feminism, comparative religion, and Jewish spirituality. Dr. Ochs served as a Simmons College Professor of Philosophy for 25 years, eventually earning the distinction of Emerita Professor. She went on to serve for 15 years at the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, serving as Director of Graduate Studies and directing the Doctor of Ministry Program, which accepted and graduated ordained members of many faiths from many countries.

  • Catharine R. Stimpson - A renowned feminist scholar and prolific writer, Catharine R. Stimpson is one of the leading female public intellectuals. Currently, Dr. Simpson is University Professor and Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University, where she also teaches in the law school. Dr. Stimpson is the founding Editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, one of the most influential journals in the field of gender and women's studies. She has edited seven books and published a novel, a collection of her essays, and more than 150 monographs, essays, stories, and reviews in media including The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, and the Huffington Post.

Commencement 2012