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Journalist Cecilia Kang ’94 Announced as Speaker for 138th Commencement

Journalist Cecilia Kang ’94
Cecilia Kang, a 1994 Whitman College English graduate, is an acclaimed technology reporter for The New York Times and the author of the award-winning book “An Ugly Truth.” Photo courtesy of Cecilia Kang.

Whitman College is pleased to announce the selection of Cecilia Kang as speaker for its 138th Commencement Ceremony. Kang, a distinguished alum of the Whitman College Class of 1994, is known for her award-winning technology reporting for The New York Times.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cecilia Kang as our Commencement speaker,” says Whitman College President Sarah Bolton. “Her achievements as a journalist and her commitment to fostering meaningful dialogue on the impact of technology align perfectly with Whitman’s values of critical thinking and engagement with the world. We look forward to learning from her wisdom as we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating class.”

Kang majored in English Language and Literature at Whitman and went into journalism immediately after graduating. She worked for the Associated Press-Dow Jones as a Bureau Chief in Seoul, South Korea, as a Staff Writer for The San Jose Mercury, and as a senior technology correspondent at The Washington Post before joining The New York Times in 2014.

Three Decades of Wisdom Gained

“I'm honored and thrilled to address the class of 2024, exactly 30 years after my graduation from Whitman,” says Kang. “This group of graduates will begin jobs, graduate programs and other endeavors amid sweeping technological, economic, social and environmental changes. What I want them to know is that I’m more confident than ever that they are best suited to confront those changes with the education they received at Whitman.”

Now living in the Washington, DC-area, Kang has remained deeply connected to Whitman throughout the years. She currently serves on the President’s Advisory Board, leveraging her expertise to support the college’s strategic priorities. Kang delivered the Hosokawa Journalism Lecture in April 2011, and in September 2021 returned to campus to share insights drawn from her co-authored book “An Ugly Truth,” which explores the effects of Facebook on democracy and society.

Most recently, Kang was one of five alumni who participated in a panel discussion titled “Finding Success and Purpose in a Changing World” during the October 2024 launch of the Upward Together Campaign. One of her main themes at that event—and something she’ll lean into as she thinks about her upcoming address at the Commencement Ceremony—is the importance of critical thinking and asking questions.

“In my reporting on the technology industry, I’ve met a lot of smart people and seen the great disruptions caused by artificial intelligence and social media. And what I’ve learned is that what really matters is how you think, not just what you know. That’s the education Whitman so effectively imparts to its students and I’m excited to deliver that message to this graduating class,” says Kang.

Kang’s selection as Commencement speaker underscores her contributions to journalism, dedication to ethical leadership and commitment to Whitman College. Nominated by a member of the Whitman community and approved by the Board of Trustees during their February 2024 meeting, Kang’s presence promises to inspire graduating students as they join the ranks of Whitman alumni making a difference in the world.

Whitman College’s 138th Commencement Ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 19, 2024, at 11 a.m. For more information, please visit our Commencement website.

Published on Mar 8, 2024
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