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Radcliffe Day 2022 in Photos

Dsc3158 Medalist Conversation Minow Ifill Tony Rinaldo
Sherrilyn Ifill, who was the 2022 Radcliffe Medalist, and Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor and a former dean of Harvard Law School, engaged in the keynote conversation. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

It echoed off the brick and was repeated with glee and warmth.

“Happy Radcliffe Day!” 

Followed by fist bumps or hugs, or fist bumps and hugs, it was both a greeting and a celebration, the first time in two years this Radcliffe tradition returned in person to the bright green, finely honed spring of Radcliffe Yard after a grueling pandemic tore us apart. 

With a newly confirmed US Supreme Court Justice, the Radcliffe Medalist Sherrilyn Ifill, a very popular (and tall!) newscaster, and a host of alumnae and friends in attendance, Radcliffe Day 2022 honored the College, its supporters, the Institute, and far-reaching ideals—to work together to solve the world’s woes, celebrate our heroes and their work, strive to do more, and be open to all in this strange era of reaction and detraction. This, in photos, was Radcliffe Day 2022.

Immaculata De Vivo, codirector of the science program at Harvard Radcliffe Institute, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Evelynn M. Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies at Harvard, were all smiles on Radcliffe Day, the first time the event was held in person in two years. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Radcliffe Medalist Sherrilyn Ifill (center) was the seventh president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) from 2013 to 2022 and currently serves as president and director-counsel emeritus. Lauded as a visionary and transformative leader during an intense time in the nation’s history, Ifill received her award from Harvard Radcliffe Institute Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin (right) after holding an insightful one-on-one discussion with Martha Minow (left), a former Harvard Law School Dean and 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard Law School (HLS). Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Just days away from being confirmed, US Supreme Court Justice-Designate Ketanji Brown Jackson attended Radcliffe Day after attending both Harvard Commencement and her HLS 30th reunion. Here she smiles during a standing ovation after her introduction. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Although the subject on Radcliffe Medalist Sherrilyn Ifill’s phone was not confirmed, we suspect pets or children. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

The popular Emmy Award–winning MSNBC News host Rachel Maddow drove from her home in western Massachusetts to give a heartfelt testimonial speech for Sherrilyn Ifill during Rad Day 2022. Maddow admitted she rarely attends, let alone speaks, at such events. But for Ifill, her close friend, she did. She called Ifill “a leader, a fighter, an organizer, a builder of institutions—most importantly, a builder of Black institutions.” Photo by Tony Rinaldo

The day started with an in-depth and at times bleak discussion titled “Higher Education Access and the American Workforce,” which delved into the inherent inequity of our post-secondary education system, leaving some students behind and even reinforcing longstanding inequities. Raj Chetty (far left) ’00 PhD ’03, the William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics at Harvard University, deftly led the discussion with (from left to right) Donna Shalala, former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and 2008 Radcliffe Medal winner; Leslie Cornfeld ’81, JD ’85, founder and CEO of the National Education Equity Lab; Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College, in Boston; and via video feed, Anthony P. Carnevale, research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

There are “fundamental cracks in the foundation” of “every pillar that holds up democracy: education, the legal profession, journalism, the faith communities,” warned Ifill. “We’re in a moment that’s incredibly sobering. Also a moment of opportunity if we are prepared to open our minds to understand how we got here.”

“Sherrilyn embodies Radcliffe’s highest ideals,” said Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Daniel P. S. Paul Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “She is an influential scholar and educator, and she is deeply engaged in the hard work of change making. As a nation, we owe a great deal to her pathbreaking leadership.” Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Justices past and present: Margaret H. Marshall EdM ’69, the 24th chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and 2012 Radcliffe Medalist, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the newest US Supreme Court justice. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Brown-Nagin, who headed the Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery initiative this year, also published a biography, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality, which hit shelves the day before US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement. Motley was the first African American woman to serve on the federal bench and could have been the first Black woman on the US Supreme Court, but it was not to be. So when President Biden announced the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Breyer, Brown-Nagin and Jackson’s worlds collided: At her introduction at the White House, Jackson said she stood on Motley’s shoulders. And on Radcliffe Day 2022, Brown-Nagin signed a copy of her book to the nation’s first African American woman to soon sit on the nation’s highest court. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Mac Daniel is the associate director of communications and senior editor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

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