Lawyer, activist Anita Hill to speak at Mount Holyoke College 2020 commencement  

  • Anita Hill poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Park City, Utah. Hill made national headlines in 1991 when she testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Director Freida Mock explored Hill's landmark testimony and the resulting social and political changes in the documentary "Anita." (Photo by Victorial Will/Invision/AP) Victoria Will—Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Staff Writer
Saturday, May 30, 2020

SOUTH HADLEY — Mount Holyoke College has announced that lawyer and activist Anita Hill will address the Class of 2020 at the college’s in-person commencement ceremony at a date to be determined.

Hill, who is recognized as a leading advocate for women’s rights and civil rights, came under a national spotlight in 1991 when she testified that she had been sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas, who had been nominated for Supreme Court justice, when he was her boss at the U.S. Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Hill was the first African-American tenured by the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1989, and is now a professor of policy, law, and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, as well as chairwoman of the Hollywood Commission to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Advance Equality in the Workplace. 

In recent years, Hill has addressed the #MeToo movement; spoken on increased awareness of Title IX policies, which protect against gender discrimination in schools; and worked for legal and policy reforms to empower women and girls.

Three other notable speakers will address the Class of 2020 at the ceremony, the college announced: transgender activist and writer Janet Mock, Simmons College President Helen Drinan, and former Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella.

Mount Holyoke has yet to set a date for the in-person commencement ceremony.

but said it will be held “at a future date when it is safe to gather in public.”