Speaker

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2022 Commencement Speaker

Jonathan Haidt, PH.D.

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and taught for 16 years at the University of Virginia.

Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultural and political divisions. His goal is to help people understand each other, live and work near each other, and even learn from each other despite their moral differences. Haidt is the author of The New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind (2012) and The Coddling of the American Mind (2018, with Greg Lukianoff). In 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the world’s “Top 50 Thinkers.” He has given four TED talks.

His next book will be published in 2023: Life After Babel: Adapting to a World We Can No Longer Share. It is about how social media has altered the social operating systems of people, institutions, and democracies in ways that may lead to failure, unless major changes are made.

Previous Commencement Speakers

  • 2021: Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • 2019: Honorable Janet T. Mills, Governor of Maine
  • 2018: Catherine A. Sanderson, Ph.D., Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology), Amherst College
  • 2017: Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
  • 2016: Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Jr., James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor of Moral Leadership at Emory University, Director of the Religion Department of the Chautauqua Institution
  • 2015: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, President/CEO, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England 
  • 2014: Gregory W. Powell, J.D., CEO/President of Dexter Enterprises, Inc, & Chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation
  • 2013: Honorable Angus King (I), U.S. Senator, Maine
  • 2012: Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D)
  • 2011: Congressman Michael Michaud (D)
  • 2010: Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Institute of Medicine
  • 2009: Rita Colwell, Ph.D., Nationally-respected Scientist and Educator
  • 2008: John McKernan, Former Governor of Maine
  • 2007: Robert Shetterly, Maine Artist and Author
  • 2006: Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • 2005: Olympia J. Snowe, United States Senator, Maine
  • 2004: Henry L. P. Schmelzer, President and CEO Maine Community Foundation
  • 2003: Henry L. P. Schmelzer, President and CEO Maine Community Foundation
  • 2002: Daniel Wathen, Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court
  • 2001: Congressman Tom Allen, U.S. Congressman, Maine
  • 2000: Robert McAfee, Former President of the American Medical Association, UNE Board of Trustees member
  • 1999: Susan Collins, U.S. Senator, Maine
  • 1998: Richard MacPherson
  • 1997: Marvin Wachman, Ph.D.
  • 1996: Olympia Snowe, U.S. Senator, Maine 
  • 1995: Judith Isaacson
  • 1994: Rev. John Brooks
  • 1993: Thomas Andrews
  • 1992: Dorothy Cotton
  • 1991: Marie Gadsden, Ph.D.
  • 1990: George Mitchell 
  • 1989: Andrew McGuire
  • 1988: Dr. David Matthews
  • 1987: Dodge Morgan
  • 1986: Douglas Edwards
  • 1985: Assoc. Justice Caroline D. Glassman, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
  • 1984: Honorable Joseph E. Brennan, Governor of Maine
  • 1983: Arthur Elliott Levine, Ph.D., President, Bradford College (Bradford, MA)
  • 1982: James Russell Wiggins, Editor and Publisher, Ellsworth American
  • 1981: Honorable William S. Cohen, U.S. Senator, Maine
  • 1980: William J. Caldwell, Columnist, Portland Press Herald & Maine Sunday Telegram
  • 1979: F. Stephen Larrabee, Ph.D., National Security Council
  • 1978: Benjamin M. Ziegler, Ph.D., Educator, Amherst College
  • 1977: Honorable Sherry Huber
  • 1976: Dr. Elsa M. Meder
  • 1975: Dr. Scott Nearing, Economist, Farmer, and Author
  • 1974: Reverend Paul C. Reinert, President, St. Louis University
  • 1973: Dr. Kenneth E. Eble
  • 1972: Dr. Richard Weigle, President, Saint John’s College (Annapolis, Maryland)
  • 1971: The Honorable Kenneth M. Curtis
  • 1970: The Honorable James L. Farmer, A.B., B.D., Assistant Secretrary, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
  • 1969: The Honorable Frank Licht A.B., and L.L.D., Governor of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation
  • 1968: Mr. Edwin D. Canham, Editor-in-Chief, Christian Science Monitor
  • 1967: Dr. Donald M. MacKenzie, President, Park College (Parkville, Missouri)
  • 1966: Rev. Bernard Haring, Department of Religious Studies, Brown University
  • 1965: His Excellency The Most Reverand Ernest Primeau, Bishop of Manchester
  • 1964: Dr. John W. McDeVitt, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus
  • 1963: Dr. Philip Lambert
  • 1962: Father Juvenal Lawlor
  • 1961: Rev. Edward V. Stanford
  • 1960: Reverend Msgr. Robert J. White
  • 1959: Mr. William B. Mahoney
  • 1958: Reverend Mark Franck
  • 1957: Dr. Harry Doyle
  • 1956: Reverend Kevin Kidd
  • 1955: Reverend Fernand Porter
  • 1954: His Excellency The Most Reverend Daniel J. Feeney

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