IC's 121st Commencement Ceremony Honorary Degree Recipients

Commencement speaker Adam B. Ellick ’99 — the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times correspondent who brought Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai to the attention of the world — told 2016 graduates to embrace and explore the unfamiliar and to follow their curiosity. He also advised graduates to have compassion for people, even those they dislike.

“There is real journalistic and personal benefit to listening to people whom you abhor,” he said. “I obviously don’t condone the Taliban, their violence, and their reckless murder, but I do regret not including more about their views in my film. You may be thinking, ‘Who cares what the Taliban think? They shoot schoolgirls. They’re evil.’ But opposing views don’t just go away over time. We can’t just zap entire ideologies from earth, even though we try with drones.”

Ellick, who is known for his documentation of human rights abuses, was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at IC’s Commencement ceremony. Also awarded honorary degrees were Kenneth Fisher ’80 and Francisco J. Núñez.

Fisher, whose Fisher House Foundation provides services to members of the U.S. military and their families — including housing, scholarships, and grant funding for initiatives to improve the quality of life of members of the military — was awarded an honorary doctor of commercial science degree.

A MacArthur Fellow, Núñez founded the Young People’s Chorus of New York City in 1988. The chorus gives young people the opportunity to become involved in music, regardless of economic or cultural barriers. The group has performed at NBC’s Rockefeller Center tree lighting and for Pope Francis, among others. Núñez received an honorary doctor of music degree.