Alumni Watch: Kenneth Chenault ’69 Receives W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard University

Alumnus Kenneth I. Chenault ’69 was one of eight honorees to receive the prestigious W.E.B Du Bois Medal at the sixth annual Hutchins Center Honors presented by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. The medal is given to individuals who have contributed significantly to African and African-American history and culture, as well as those who advocate for intercultural understanding in an increasingly global world.

Mr. Chenault received his J.D from Harvard University in 1979, and has since gone on to a number of positions, most notably as the CEO of American Express from 2001-2018. He currently sits on the board of many companies including Airbnb, Facebook, and IBM, as well as a number of charities and non-profits including the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Earlier this year, Mr. Chenault returned to the Waldorf School of Garden City to deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2018.

The ceremony featured several other notable award recipients including Dave Chapelle and Colin Kaepernick.

Currently attending Harvard University are young alums Jonathan Gill ’15 and Marie-Anne Harrigan ’18. Ms. Harrigan, who attended the ceremony which took place on October 11th, said:

“I was very lucky to have had the chance to attend the W.E.B. Du Bois medal ceremony at Harvard last week where I got to watch, among other incredible individuals, Waldorf alumnus and my graduation speaker Kenneth Chenault, and athlete/activist Colin Kaepernick awarded for their achievements…What made me most proud was knowing that I attended the same high school as one of the honorees and knowing I am hopefully on a similar path as he. Sitting in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre and attending this event reminded me how lucky I am to not only be attending such a prestigious school but also how lucky I am to have been set on this path by my high school. “

Congratulations to Mr. Chenault for this achievement. Learn more about Hutchins Center Honors here, and watch the full ceremony here!

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