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Unity Announces Sierra Club Executive Director Benjamin Jealous as the 2023 Commencement Speaker

Unity Environmental University is excited to announce Benjamin Jealous as the 2023 May Commencement Speaker. Jealous is the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, one of the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organizations in the United States. 

Jealous has served in roles from organizer to investigative journalist to president of two of the nation’s most influential groups pursuing equity and justice and protecting democracy and the environment. He is a New York Times best-selling author and a Rhodes Scholar who graduated from Columbia University.

From 2008 to 2013, Ben led the NAACP as the youngest-ever president and CEO of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization with more than 2,400 chapters. He launched the NAACP’s Climate Justice Program, which in 2012, the same year Unity became the first institution of higher education to divest its endowment from fossil fuels, issued “Coal Blooded: Putting Profits before People”, a report assessing the impact of the nation’s 378 coal-fired power plants on people of color and low-income communities.

“We are thrilled to have Benjamin Jealous as our 2023 Commencement Speaker,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “His lifelong dedication to the environment and commitment to social justice makes him an exceptional role model for our graduating class of environmental superheroes. As a visionary, Ben Jealous has shown us that a true leader inspires real change by bringing people together to fight for what is right. We look forward to his message for Unity Environmental University’s Class of 2023.”

As Unity’s commencement speaker, and for his tireless work in the world of the environmental sciences and social justice, Mr. Jealous will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Sustainability Science. Unity’s commencement ceremony will take place at 1pm on May 13, 2023, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine.