Civil and women’s rights activist Anita Hill, whose voice has been widely used in academia, politics and in the media regarding gender, race and equality, has been named the commencement speaker for Wellesley College’s 141st commencement ceremony.
Hill, a professor of social policy, law and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University, is known for her 1991 Congressional testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas for sexual harassment.
“Women who accuse men, particularly powerful men, of harassment are often confronted with the reality of the men’s sense that they are more important than women, as a group,” Hill wrote in her 1997 memoir, Speaking Truth to Power.
“We are experiencing a watershed moment in which women are making their voices heard throughout society — in business, politics, higher education and social movements,” said Hill. “Wellesley women are known for standing up for justice, and the class of 2019 is graduating into a climate that is challenging, but offers so many possibilities for leadership. I am honored to mark this momentous occasion with the graduating seniors.”
According to a Wellesley release, it is a college tradition that each graduating class consider those who most inspire them as they move towards choosing the commencement speaker. Wellesley’s spring class of 2019 announced Hill as their choice during the annual senior celebration.
“Given the events of this year regarding the Kavanaugh trial and the rise of the #MeToo movement, we wanted to choose a speaker who not only continues to advocate for racial and gender rights, but was also an integral part to the very start of this fight,” Class Council co-presidents Alex Kew and Dominique Huang said in a statement. “As we transition to the next phases of our lives, this is the message we wanted to leave with our class of 2019 — to transcend expectations, carve out our own paths, and speak our truths even in the face of adversity, just like Anita Hill.”