Honorary Degree Citation
Immigration activist and crusader for social justice and human rights, you illuminate the divisive debate over America’s immigration policy. Rarely has first-person journalism made such an impact as when you shared your complex personal narrative with the world. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, you bring an energy to your writing and creative projects that reflects your admirable work ethic and wisdom. Your media and culture organization, Define American, elevates the conversation around immigration, identity, and citizenship and models the open exchange of ideas that is a bedrock of liberal arts education.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Jose Antonio Vargas, 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 Jose Antonio Vargas
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas is focused on the changing American identity. He is founder of Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization seeking to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America, and he is executive editor of #EmergingUS, a multimedia news platform focusing on race, immigration, and the complexities of multiculturalism. In June 2011 the New York Times Magazine published his groundbreaking essay revealing and chronicling his life as an undocumented immigrant, and his story has since been told in TIME magazine and in his own documentary film. Politico named him one of 50 Politicos to Watch, and he received awards from the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Latino advocacy organization; the Salem Award Foundation, which draws lessons from the Salem witch trials; PEN Center USA; and his alma mater, San Francisco State University.