Purchase College Commencement 2013 Honorees Announced


The Purchase College 41st annual commencement ceremony takes place Friday, May 17, 2013 at the Westchester County Center. This year’s honorary degree and distinguished alumni award recipients personify Purchase College’s unwavering commitment to cultivating the arts and humanities.

Eric Foner, one of the most prominent U.S. historians, will receive an honorary degree and serve as commencement speaker.

Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and a specialist in the Civil War and Reconstruction. His textbook, Give Me Liberty! An American History, is among the most widely used history texts in the nation’s schools and colleges. His books, now translated into six languages, have won every major prize in American history—including the Pulitzer Prize. Among many other accolades, Foner has been named Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities.

Two distinguished alumni, Jessica Hentoff and Gregory Crewdson, will also be honored at the commencement ceremony.

“These honorees exemplify how Purchase College sparks and fosters a creative direction that leads our alumni to great achievements in diverse fields,” says President Schwarz.

Hentoff ’77, is Artistic/Executive Director of Circus Day Foundation/Circus Harmony, a non-profit organization that uses circus arts to motivate social change and connect communities.

Founded in 2001, Circus Harmony has taught more than 1,000 students and presents hundreds of shows year. The organization runs a year-round circus school with the motto, “Help people defy gravity, soar with confidence, and leap over social barriers.”

Hentoff was a founding member of the Big Apple Circus and Circus Flora, and has performed as an aerialist, clown, juggler, animal trainer, and fire-eater. In 1973, as a sociology major, she took the first circus class Purchase College offered—and credits it with changing her life forever.

Crewdson ’85, studied photography here and went on to reach the apex of his art form, with his work shown in major museum collections and galleries worldwide. He is known for creating elaborately staged and lit photographs that depict dramatic, surreal events in small town America.

His work is included in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum. Crewdson is represented by Gagosian Gallery and has published several books of his photographs. He is a professor at the Yale University School of Art, where he has been on the faculty for a decade.

The commencement ceremony will also include presentation of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. The winners of the award this year are Christina Blankenship, Michael Clarke, and Amy Crehore, who were honored for their exceptional academic and extracurricular achievements.

For those planning to attend the Purchase College commencement or for further details, please visit:

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