NewsApr 10, 2018

Sen. Elizabeth Warren to speak at Commencement

Lesley University names 2018 Commencement speakers: Literacy pioneer Gay Su Pinnell, bestselling author and Lesley faculty member Jason Reynolds and Senator Elizabeth Warren

Lesley University commencement undergraduate ceremony.

We will honor and celebrate our graduates on Saturday, May 19, at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston with three esteemed honorary degree recipients who will address the Class of 2018.

“We are honored to welcome these leaders who embody the Lesley mission of addressing core societal problems with action, creativity and dedication,” says President Jeff A. Weiss. “Whether through activism, legislation, research or writing, Gay Su Pinnell, Jason Reynolds and Elizabeth Warren have all demonstrated their commitment to effecting social change.”

There will be two Commencement ceremonies on May 19 as follows:

9:00 am | Morning Ceremony Speakers

Jason Reynolds and Gay Su Pinnell will address graduates of our Graduate School of Education and the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences during our morning ceremony.

Photo of Gay Su Pinnell

Gay Su Pinnell

Gay Su Pinnell is an award-winning educator and researcher whose transformative work in early intervention for literacy has impacted millions of children in the United States. She is the author of numerous professional publications, many of which she has co-authored with Lesley Professor Irene Fountas.

Gay Su Pinnell is a professor emerita in the School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. She has extensive experience in classroom teaching and field-based research, and has developed and implemented comprehensive approaches to literacy education. She received her PhD in language and literacy education from The Ohio State University in 1975.  She has worked extensively in clinical tutoring and early intervention for young struggling readers. She has been principle investigator for two large-scale research projects, one utilizing a randomized design.

She received the International Reading Association’s Albert J. Harris Award for research in reading difficulties. She also received the Ohio Governor’s Award for contributions to literacy education. She received the Charles A. Dana Foundation Award, given for pioneering contributions in the fields of health and education. She received the 2016 Alumni Award from The Ohio State University. She is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.

With Irene Fountas, she is co-author of “Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children” (1996), “Matching Books to Readers: Using Leveled Books in Guided Reading, K-3” (1999), “Word Matters: Teaching Phonics and Spelling in the Reading/Writing classroom” (1998), “Help America Read: A Handbook for Volunteers” (1997), “Interactive Writing: How Language & Literacy come Together, K-2” (2000); and “Guiding Readers & Writers, Grades 3-6” (2000).  Fountas and Pinnell have also published a four-volume set, “Phonics Lessons: Letters, Words, and How They Work,” for kindergarten, first, second, and third grades as well as “Teaching for Comprehending  and Fluency, Grades K-8: Thinking, Talking, and Writing about Reading.”

She co-authored “Systems for Change: A Guide to Professional Development,” with Carol Lyons. She has published “When Readers Struggle: Teaching that Works” and also created the Leveled Literacy Intervention System, which offers guides and original children’s books for at-risk literacy learners in grades K through 12. Her newest publications are “The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum” (Expanded Edition), “Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching for All Children” and “The Fountas & Pinnell Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Guide.”

Jason Reynolds portrait

Jason Reynolds

New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds, a member of Lesley’s MFA in Creative Writing faculty, has won numerous awards and honors for his books and is widely acclaimed for his impact, particularly in engaging young, diverse readers.

Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. Reynolds was the American Booksellers Association’s 2017 spokesperson for Indies First, and is serving as the national spokesperson for the 2018 celebration of School Library Month in April 2018, sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). His many works of fiction include “When I Was the Greatest,” “Boy in the Black Suit,” “All American Boys” (co-authored with Brendan Kiely), “As Brave As You,” “For Every One,” the “Track” series (“Ghost,” “Patina,” “Sunny” and “Lu”), and “Long Way Down,” which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor.

He lives in Washington, D.C. He has been teaching for three years in Lesley’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing low-residency graduate program.

1:30 pm | Afternoon Ceremony Speaker

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will address graduates from our College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Art and Design during our afternoon ceremony.

Photo of United States Senator Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is an American politician, academic and author who serves as the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, a seat to which she was elected in 2012. She is a lauded consumer protection advocate who has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine three times.

Elizabeth Warren, a fearless consumer advocate who has made her life's work the fight for middle class families, was elected to the United States Senate on November 6, 2012, by the people of Massachusetts. She is recognized as one of the nation's top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing middle class families. She is widely credited for the original thinking, political courage and relentless persistence that led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Obama asked her to set up the new agency to hold Wall Street banks and other financial institutions accountable, and to protect consumers from financial tricks and traps often hidden in mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Warren served as Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Her independent and tireless efforts to protect taxpayers, to hold Wall Street accountable, and to ensure tough oversight of both the Bush and Obama Administrations won praise from both sides of the aisle. The Boston Globe named Elizabeth Warren “Bostonian of the Year” and TIME Magazine called her a "New Sheriff of Wall Street" for her oversight efforts.

Warren was a law professor for more than 30 years, including nearly 20 years as the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. The graduating class at Harvard twice recognized her with the Sacks-Freund Award for excellence in teaching. She taught courses on commercial law, contracts, and bankruptcy and wrote more than a hundred articles and 10 books, including three national best-sellers, “A Fighting Chance,” “The Two-Income Trap” and “All Your Worth.” National Law Journal named her one of the Most Influential Lawyers of the Decade, TIME Magazine has named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world three times, and she has been honored by the Massachusetts Women's Bar Association with the Lelia J. Robinson Award.

She is a graduate of the University of Houston and Rutgers School of Law. She and her husband Bruce Mann have been married for 37 years and live in Cambridge. They have three grandchildren.

Find more information

Visit the Commencement webpage for information and logistics, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #lesley18.