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Dawn Porter '88

Hello everyone, I'm Dawn Porter. I am so grateful and so honored to accept this honorary degree from Swarthmore College. The college has been a part of my life since I was 18 years old and it has been such a meaningful and formative experience for me. I was a girl from the Bronx and the moment I stepped foot on the beautiful campus and smelled the fresh air and walked up the walk from the train station, I felt that I belonged. And I really credit my time at the college with forming and a person who had a love of learning, who formed deep relationships, and for helping me find a sense of myself, in the larger and very complicated world. Some of my closest friendships were made at the college and some of the most formative experiences of my life.

When I think about my career today I'm a documentary filmmaker. I am curious about people, and I know that, that love of and curiosity was encouraged and fostered at Swarthmore. And I can't imagine myself learning or having those formative experiences in any other place. I think a lot about the world right now and about what I want my contributions to be. The work that I do I hope foster some understanding of some of the more complicated problems that we're all experiencing. So I think there's no place that I would rather have been trained and supported and encouraged that in our beautiful campus.

I want everyone to know that this very, very special place it is not an accident that a culture of respect and learning is fostered at the college. I have been so impressed with the leadership of President Smith how she's guided us through really difficult time. And I look forward to continuing to be a vocal advocate for liberal arts education and for helping people to understand what that means. So I thank you for this. It was such a wonderful surprise and I hope to see you all in-person very, very soon. Thank you for being such a supporter of my work, for encouraging me all these years later. And also I'm so proud of my oldest child who is also now Swarthmore student. And so I hope our personal Swarthmore legacy will continue and that we will get to share with all of you.

Thank you again so much for this tremendous, tremendous honor.