Anita Allen

Wooster Announces Speakers for Spring 2021 Commencement

April 30, 2021   /  

WOOSTER, OH—Internationally recognized legal expert Anita Allen will provide a keynote address and receive an honorary degree at The College of Wooster’s 151st Commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 8 at John Papp Stadium.  

The Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at University of Pennsylvania Law School, Dr. Allen is renowned for her work on philosophical dimensions of privacy and data protection law, ethics, bioethics, legal philosophy, women’s rights, and diversity in higher education.  

A graduate of Harvard Law School with a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan, Dr. Allen is the first African-American woman to hold both a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a law degree. She was Penn’s Vice Provost for Faculty from 2013-2020, and chaired the Provost’s Arts Advisory Council.  Dr. Allen has served on the faculty at Cornell and as a visiting Professor at Tel Aviv  University, Waseda University, Villanova, the University of Arizona, Harvard, and Yale. She is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

From 2010 to 2017, she served on President Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in 2015 and currently serves as chair of its board.   Allen served as the Bell Distinguished Lecturer at Wooster in 2012.

Her books include Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide, Privacy Law and Society, The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the 21st Century Moral Landscape, Why Privacy Isn’t Everything: Feminist Reflections on Personal Accountability, and Uneasy Access: Privacy of Women in a Free Society

Three members of the Class of 2021 will also speak at commencement: Saeed Husain, an anthropology major from Karachi, Pakistan; Stachal Harris, a political science major from Baltimore, MD; and, Austrella Balley, a political science major and education minor from St. Louis, MO. 

angela danso gyane
Angela Danso-Gyane ’21

Special musical performances will be provided by current and alumni members of the Wooster Chorus, and Angela Danso-Gyane ‘21, a double major in history and political science-international relations from Woodbridge, VA. 

Wooster President Sarah Bolton will welcome those gathered for the ceremony and the invocation and benediction will be provided by Anne Wilson ‘73 and David Rice, who are members of the Board of Trustees. Alumni board president Christine Farrell ‘94 will welcome the new graduates to the community of Wooster alumni.  

More than 380 seniors are expected to participate in the in-person exercises, with a number of graduates, families, and guests taking part in the ceremony virtually. Each in-person participant can reserve up to two tickets in advance. All participants and guests will be required to wear masks and maintain six-foot social distancing. 

To follow state guidance on large gatherings and social distancing, while maximizing the number of guests, every effort will be made to hold commencement outside so that everyone can be together, in person. Graduates and their guests are advised to check Wooster, OH, weather reports and dress for expected cool Ohio spring temperatures. The College will make all official weather calls no later than Thursday, May 6. In case of severe weather (i.e. lightning, thunderstorms, downpour), the ceremony will be held at McGaw Chapel and all guests will gather separately to view the ceremony from Timken Gymnasium in the Scot Center. 

Seniors and families who don’t come to campus will be able to access livestreams of many Commencement events as well as programs.  

For more information on the full schedule of events, tickets and guest services, visit the Commencement website at