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President Valerie Smith's Charge to T. Alexander Aleinikoff '74

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Swarthmore College Class of 1974, is a leading immigration and refugee law scholar, helping direct policy at both the national and international levels.

His service includes co-chairing the Immigration Task Force for President Barack Obama’s transition team as well as serving as the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, safeguarding the rights and well-being of refugees and internally displaced persons around the world.

In addition to his public service, Alex has deep experience within higher education. He currently teaches at The New School in New York City and is the director of the school’s Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. 

Writing in the 2004 essay collection entitled The Meaning of Swarthmore, Alex reflected that his time spent in the College’s Peace Collection reading about “individual and collective action for peace” served to “forge iron-like commitments to seek to make the world more just.”

These commitments are evident in his teaching, scholarship, and service, embodying the values of a Swarthmore education.  

And now, Alex, upon the recommendation of the faculty, and by the power vested in me by the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I have the honor to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws.