Equal Rights Leader Anita Hill Selected to Receive Honorary Degree from Rutgers University–Camden

Sent Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018

To the Campus Community:

I am pleased to report that the Rutgers Board of Governors has approved our recommendation to present Anita Hill, a national figure leading the #TimesUp movement against sexual harassment and assault, with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the commencement ceremony for the Rutgers Law School in Camden at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 17. She also will deliver the keynote address for that ceremony.

A vocal advocate for equal opportunities for women in STEM and other fields, Prof. Hill was confirmed at a meeting of the Board of Governors on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

She is an inspired choice for this honor and for our campus. Prof. Hill is one of our nation’s most powerful voices in addressing equality and discrimination, and has reemerged as a central figure in the current national discussion regarding sexual harassment. Her career is a living testament to her commitment to the idea of equity in access in myriad ways, particularly regarding the importance of equal rights for women. She is an ideal role model to charge graduating students to take what they learned at Rutgers–Camden and work to improve their communities and world.

Currently serving as a professor of social policy, law, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Brandeis University, Prof. Hill’s prolific career has touched virtually every aspect of American life in a historic manner. She graduated from Yale Law School and began her career in private practice in Washington, D.C. She then accepted a position working for the Hon. Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and, later, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Prof. Hill’s 1991 testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during Judge Thomas’ confirmation hearings for his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court ignited the national conversation about sexual harassment that continues to command attention. During the hearings, Prof. Hill alleged that Judge Thomas had frequently taken inappropriate liberties in his interactions with her during her employment. Prof. Hill’s testimony became the subject of national debate about sexual harassment and her experiences made her a symbol for conversations about workplace misconduct, inequality, and discrimination. Her courageous refusal to be silent and her steadfast commitment to fighting sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination have persisted for more than a quarter of a century.

Her latest book is Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home (Beacon Press, 2011). Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Ms. magazine have published her commentary, and she has made numerous appearances on national television. In the wake of the surging national crisis regarding sexual harassment in late 2017, she took the lead in a campaign against sexual abuse in the media and entertainment industries by heading up the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.

She is the recipient of many awards, grants, and honorary degrees. Prof. Hill’s professional and civic contributions include chairing the Human Rights Law Committee of the International Bar Association and membership on the Board of Governors of Tufts Medical Center, the Board of Directors of the National Women’s Law Center, and the Boston Area Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. In 1989, she became the first African American to be tenured at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Additional details about Commencement 2018 are available at http://camden.rutgers.edu/commencement.

I would like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination for our 2018 honorary degree recipient. We have much to celebrate this year, and the selection of this outstanding honorary degree recipient represents an excellent way to commemorate the Class of 2018 and all that we have achieved during the past year.

Phoebe A. Haddon, J.D., LL.M.

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