News Releases

June 18, 2013
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Chato Hazelbaker
Chief Communications Officer

Telephone: 360-992-2921

Clark College alumna to give 2013 Commencement keynote address

Dr. Caroline Heldman ’91 will provide an inspiring example
what today’s graduates can accomplish with a Clark College degree


Dr. Caroline HeldmanVANCOUVER, Wash. – Dr. Caroline Heldman ’91, the chair of the Politics Department at Occidental College, will replace ABC News anchor and chief national correspondent Byron Pitts as the Clark College Commencement speaker. Pitts informed the college on Monday that ABC had called him on emergency assignment and he would be unable to attend the ceremony.

“Dr. Heldman immediately came to mind as a great speaker, an alumna, a community leader, and a fascinating person who has engaged the culture through her work,” said Clark College President Robert K. Knight. “Her story will serve as an inspiration for our graduates.”

Dr. Heldman enrolled at Clark College when she was 14; she credits her time at Clark with exposing her to a diverse student body of all ages and backgrounds, an experience that would help her in a career path that has included successes in business, politics, and academics. After earning her associate degree from Clark, Dr. Heldman attended Washington State University Vancouver, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business. But while successful in the private sector, Dr. Heldman was drawn to politics. She has served as a congressional staffer and campaign manager, earning her master’s and doctorate degrees from Rutgers University in political science along the way.

In her academic career, she specializes in the presidency and systems of power (race, class, gender) in U.S. politics. She is also a regular commentator for FOX News, MSNBC, Fox Business News, CNBC, RT America, and Al Jazeera English, and writes for Ms. Magazine’s blog and the blog Sociological Images. Dr. Heldman co-edited Rethinking Madame President: Are We Ready for a Woman in the White House? (2007). Her work has also been featured in popular publications, including the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Beast, and on the Katie Couric Show and the Rosie (O’Donnell) Show.

Dr. Heldman also worked on the documentary film projects Miss Representation and Aftermath: New Orleans in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Heldman drove to New Orleans to help with rebuilding efforts the week that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and co-founded the New Orleans Women’s Shelter and the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum.

Dr. Heldman has received numerous awards for both her academic and volunteer work, including regional finalist for the White House Fellowship; a Proclamation from the City of Whittier for her fundraising efforts for domestic violence prevention; a Gracie Award for excellence in broadcasting for the documentary Women in Government; and the Key to the College from Whittier College.

Dr. Heldman recently visited Clark College to present a lecture on misogyny in the media, where students responded enthusiastically to her insight and empowering message. More information about Dr. Heldman can be found in a recent article in Partners, the magazine of Clark College Foundation.

The Clark College Commencement ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 20, at 7 p.m. at the Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel Road, Ridgefield. The event is free and open to the public.