May 31, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 57°F


College to award honorary degrees at Commencement

Ithaca College will present honorary Doctor of Letters degrees to Melissa Harris-Perry, educator and journalist, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick at the 124th Commencement on May 19.

Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado recommended Harris-Perry and Myrick to be nominated for the degrees because they are passionate people who have impacted a wide range of fields. The announcement was made on the college’s website through IC News.

Harris-Perry is the author of the books “Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought,” and “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.” Her work focuses on race, gender, politics and power. She currently serves as the editor-at-large at and is a contributing editor at The Nation. Additionally, she hosted a weekend show on MSNBC and was awarded the 2016 Hillman Prize for her work on that show.

Myrick became the first mayor of color and the youngest mayor of the City of Ithaca in January 2012. In his second term in 2016, he released “The Ithaca Plan: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drugs and Drug Policy,” which was recognized internationally for its progressive thinking. In 2017, Myrick was awarded an Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership which aims to bring together the nation’s best young political leaders to explore best practices, values and underlying principles of democracy, to explore relationships between individuals and their community and to evaluate the responsibilities of public leadership. He was also named to the Forbes magazine “30 under 30” list for law and policy in January 2017.

Mildred García, president of the American Association of State Colleges and University, will also be awarded an honorary doctorate degree at the ceremony, and will deliver the commencement address. García is the first Latina to lead one of the six Washington, D.C., higher education associations. She has worked to influence federal policy and regulations for member colleges, universities and systems.

“By granting honorary degrees to these individuals, Ithaca College is demonstrating our deep commitment to honoring leaders who use their talents, expertise and platforms to give voice to important issues and demonstrate the values our college seeks to exemplify,” Collado said via the announcement.

Krissy Waite can be reached at or via Twitter: @krissy_waite