Honorary Degree Citation
Scholar, novelist, educator, philosopher. Born in London, educated in Ghana and in England, now teaching in the United States, the trajectory of your life marks you as cosmopolitan, but it is by the breadth and depth of your thought that you are truly a citizen of the world. In scholarly but personal and always elegant prose, you have parsed the complications of modern agency, bringing the richness of our personal commitments to our attention, be they inspired by nationality, sexuality, or profession. From your earliest work in probabilistic semantics, you have shown us how to find meaning in an uncertain world. You have been called “our post-modern Socrates,” but you have argued for the importance of the concept of truth. By encouraging us to think about the concept of “race” in quotation marks, you have alerted us to our complicity in constructing what we too often assume are natural categories. By challenging us to be citizens of the world, you have moved our horizons beyond the national, showing how our love of country can be compatible with our concern for others beyond our borders. You have taught at the University of Ghana, Cambridge, Duke, Cornell, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. You have been honored with induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and your contributions have earned you election to the chair of the executive board of the American Philosophical Association, chair of the board of the American Council of Learned Societies, and the presidency of PEN American Center.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Kwame Anthony Appiah, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.
Conferred May 23, 2010