Commencement Speaker Chosen
Expert on international affairs makes the cut
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 14:02
The commencement speaker for the class of 2013 will be Anne-Marie Slaughter. Currently a professor at Princeton, Slaughter spent two years as director of policy planning for the U.S. Department of State from 2009 to 2011, where she worked under Hillary Clinton.
Slaughter’s selection coincides with an already historic year for Lafayette. Last month, the Board of Trustees elected Alison R. Byerly the school’s first woman president. Like Byerly, Slaughter is also immensely accomplished. She was the first female to serve as director of policy planning at the Department of State and, prior to that, dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Slaughter contributes to several major newspapers, magazines, and blogs all over the world. She has written and edited six books, including A New World Order (2004) and The Idea That Is America: Keeping Faith with Our Values in a Dangerous World (2007). In July 2012, she wrote a controversial and widely read op-ed for The Atlantic (where she is a contributing editor) titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” In it, she detailed the continuing struggles of being a high-powered female professional with a family. “I still strongly believe that women can ‘have it all’ (and that men can too),” she wrote. “I believe that we can ‘have it all at the same time.’ But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured.”
Slaughter established new centers and programs in Princeton’s international relations department. She served as co-chair of the Princeton Project on National Security with fellow professor, John Ikenberry. The project, which took years of research, helped develop a national security strategy that would reach across party lines. Slaughter earned a B.A. from Princeton, a Ph.D. in philosophy from Oxford, and a law degree from Harvard. She first came to Lafayette October 24, lecturing on “The Big Picture: Beyond Hot Spots and Crises in Our Interconnected World,” the first in the class of 1961 International Speaker Series. Slaughter follows an eclectic list of past speakers including film director Gary Marshall, pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, journalist Juan Williams, and television host Joan Lunden.
“We try to mix it up,” President Daniel H.Weiss said.
Weiss served on the commencement speaker search committee along with Executive Assistant to the President James Krivoski and several other administrators, faculty, and students. Caroline Lang ‘13 and four other senior Student Government members also joined in on the search.
“This year the selection process was based on recommendations from Trustees, active alumni, and student parents,” Lang said. “We asked that these individuals only suggest a speaker if they had a personal connection to them.”
From those names, StuGov compiled a shortlist of 13 names. They did not participate in the committee’s final vote. Weiss declined to comment on whether Slaughter was the committee’s first choice or name any other candidates considered for the job. But he did make one point clear: “She was my first choice.”