February 7, 2018

By Mike Sepanic

Anita Hill, a national figure leading the #TimesUp movement against sexual harassment and assault and a vocal advocate for equal opportunities for women in STEM and other fields, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws from Rutgers University–Camden during the Rutgers Law School commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 17, the Rutgers University Board of Governors announced at its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 7.

She also will deliver the keynote address for the Class of 2018 at that ceremony.

“Rutgers–Camden is proud to present an honorary degree to Anita Hill during commencement this year,” says Rutgers University–Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon. “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 the ideal role model to charge graduating students to take what they learned at Rutgers–Camden and work to improve their communities and world,” concludes Haddon.

Hill currently serves as a professor of social policy, law, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Brandeis University.

She graduated from Yale Law School in 1980 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.

Hill’s 1991 testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during 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, Hill alleged that Thomas had frequently taken inappropriate liberties in his interactions with her during her employment.  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.

Hill’s 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 a recent New York Daily News article regarding allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, Hill noted that “Despite a generation growing up hearing that sexual harassment is unacceptable, it clearly remains a plague.” 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. 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.

Hill received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a Juris Doctor from Yale.

Rutgers University–Camden will confer the honorary degree to Hill during the ceremony for Rutgers Law School’s Camden location at the BB&T Pavilion on the Camden Waterfront at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 17.  Additional ceremonies will be held at the same location on Wednesday, May 16, and Thursday, May 17.  For more information about Commencement 2018 at Rutgers University–Camden, visit camden.rutgers.edu/commencement.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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