Deborah Bial

May 24, 2015

Honorary Degree Citation

Educational visionary and advocate for social justice, you created an organization that has transformed many thousands of lives and countless institutions. By sending promising urban students to America’s finest colleges, including Colby, the Posse Foundation provides access to education for talented, deserving students who may have been previously overlooked. These students become powerful catalysts for change. Colby and all of us touched by Posse Scholars are stronger and wiser for the enormous contributions that they—emboldened by the support of their peers and your program—are able to make.

By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Deborah Bial, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma are the visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.

Conferred May 24, 2015


More about Deborah Bial

An expert in education, college access, and leadership development, Deborah Bial is president and founder of the Posse Foundation, a nonprofit organization that sends teams (Posses) of students from diverse backgrounds to selective colleges and universities, including Colby. Since founding the Posse Foundation in 1989, Bial has grown it into one of the most comprehensive college access and scholarship programs in the United States. Today it supports programs in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, D.C. Since 1989 more than 6,000 Posse Scholars have attended 52 top-tier colleges and universities and have won $805 million in scholarships from those partner institutions. Ninety percent of Posse Scholars persist and graduate—significantly above the national average. In 2007 Bial received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She is a distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

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