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DCAD Announces Commencement Speakers for the Class of 2021

The Delaware College of Art and Design (DCAD) is pleased to announce the speakers for the College’s 23rd annual commencement exercises. 

Senator Sarah McBride (SD-1) will open the ceremony, scheduled for Monday, May 17, 2021, at The Queen. A DCAD Trustee, Senator McBride has been involved in community advocacy for most of her life, including working for former Governor Jack Markell, the late Attorney General Beau Biden, and as a White House intern during the Obama Administration. She recently served as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ equal rights organization. McBride has taught public policy at the University of Delaware and is the author of the 2018 memoir, “Tomorrow Will Be Different.” 

Before her service in the State Senate, McBride led the successful effort to pass a landmark non-discrimination law in Delaware, worked with state leaders to expand health care covered by Medicaid, and championed legislation protecting vulnerable youth from child abuse. 

For her work and advocacy, former Gov. Markell awarded McBride the Order of the First State, making her one of the youngest Delawareans granted the state’s highest civilian honor. When McBride was elected in November 2020, succeeding former state Senator Harris B. McDowell III, she became the first openly transgender state senator in American history. 

Professional artist and educator Curlee R. Holton was chosen to provide the event’s keynote address. Mr. Holton has been the Director of the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland since 2012. The David M. and Linda Roth Professor of Art, emeritus, at Lafayette College, Easton, PA, Holton is a printmaker and painter whose work has been exhibited professionally for over twenty-five years in more than thirty one-person shows and over eighty group shows. His exhibitions have included prestigious national and international venues such as Egypt’s 7th International Biennale, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in many private and public collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. 

As part of his research and study as an artist-scholar, he has lectured and presented demonstrations throughout the United States and abroad in Europe, Mexico, the West Indies, and Costa Rica. He has presented over seventy public lectures about his work, African American art, and contemporary printmaking. He has written numerous articles and essays on art and artists that have been published in catalogues and journals. Holton earned his M.F.A. with Honors from Kent State University and his B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Fine Arts in Drawing and Printmaking. Beginning in 1991, he taught Printmaking and African American Art History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he was also the founding Director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute. He currently operates Raven Fine Print Edition, a private print studio that he established in 2006.