Heather McGhee, leader of the nationally known public policy organization, Demos, will deliver the Commencement address at Vassar College’s 154th graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 27.
McGhee played a key role in shaping economic policy in the wake of the 2007 recession. She co-chaired a task force for Americans for Financial Reform, a group that contributed key provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Consumer Protection Act. McGhee delivered the opening remarks at the Obama Foundation Summit last fall. She spoke on how the nation’s economy benefits the top 1 percent of our wealthiest citizens and asked, “What would America look like if we created an economy where we all could succeed?”
McGhee has been with Demos for 15 years, the last four as president. She will leave her post as president this summer and will become a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. She serves on the boards of the Center for Working Families and Consumer Reports. She said the goal of all of her work is to help foster policies that “create an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy.”
Vassar President Elizabeth Bradley said she was looking forward to hearing McGhee’s message to Vassar’s graduates. “Heather McGhee has been on the front lines of numerous important public policy debates,” Bradley said. “She’s a fighter, and she fights for the right causes.”
McGhee is a frequent guest on such shows as “Meet the Press,” ”Real Time with Bill Maher,” and “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” She has written for numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Nation and The Hill. She is one of The Root’s “23 Black Pundits You Should Know” and one of Grist’s “50 People You’ll be Talking About in 2016.” She is a recipient of New York University’s McSilver Award for Leaders on the Fight Against Poverty and Citizen Action of New York’s Progressive Leadership Award. She is a graduate of Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.