Paula Kerger, president and chief executive officer of PBS, will deliver the Commencement address at Allegheny College in the college’s 202nd year. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13.
PBS is the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization, with nearly 350 member stations throughout the country. The longest serving president and chief executive officer in PBS history, Kerger has made strong commitments to the arts, news and public affairs, high-quality educational content for children and the classroom, diversity, and the use of new digital platforms to bring public media into the lives of all Americans. During her tenure, PBS has moved from the 15th most-watched television network to number six.
Among Kerger’s accomplishments are the acclaimed programs “Downton Abbey” on Masterpiece, Ken Burns’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” “Hamilton’s America” from Great Performances, a number of trusted and safe children’s series, and award-winning apps and online sites. Under her leadership, PBS developed PBS LearningMedia, which provides educators with digital resources for the classroom, and launched the first-ever PBS Kids 24/7 channel and live stream.
Kerger also serves as president of the PBS Foundation, an independent fundraising organization that supports PBS. She is a member of the Women’s Forum, an organization of 300 leading women in New York arts and business, and is regularly included in the “Women in Entertainment Power 100,” an annual survey by “The Hollywood Reporter” of the nation’s top women executives in media. Among Kerger’s many accolades are the 2008 Women of Achievement Award from Women in Development, New York, and the 2012 Brand Builder Award from Promax/BDA, B&C and Multichannel News.
Sharing the stage with Kerger and Allegheny College President James H. Mullen Jr. will be Riverlife President and Chief Executive Officer Vivien Li, who also will receive an honorary degree.
Riverlife is a nonprofit organization that works with developers, landowners and neighborhood groups to reclaim, restore and promote Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Before joining Riverlife in 2015, Li served as executive director and then president of The Boston Harbor Association, where she helped secure $30 million in state funding to restore Boston Harbor beaches; worked with property owners to complete Boston’s 41-mile HarborWalk public access system; spearheaded a Harbor Bound education program which has taken more than 11,000 inner city students on Boston Harbor education trips; and initiated the first-ever Boston Harbor Sea Level Forum to focus on climate action.
The Commencement ceremony on May 13 will take place on historic Bentley Hall lawn, weather permitting. Tickets are required for admission only if the ceremony is held indoors in the Wise Center.