‘This American Life’ producer to address Marlboro College grads

Sean Cole to speak; artists Emily Mason and Wolf Kahn to receive honorary degrees

MARLBORO — Marlboro College's 72nd commencement will take place on the morning of May 12, when community members will gather to celebrate the accomplishments of both undergraduate and graduate students.

Radio producer and Marlboro alumnus Sean Cole '93 will give a commencement address, and renowned artists Emily Mason and Wolf Kahn will also receive honorary degrees.

“We are honored to welcome Sean back to Marlboro and include him in our proceedings as commencement speaker,” Kevin Quigley, Marlboro College president, said in a news release. “The depth and humanity in his radio productions and the thoughtfulness of his reporting exemplify Marlboro's values and educational purpose.”

Cole is a producer at National Public Radio's This American Life, where he has reported on everything from war propaganda in Colombia to a psychological experiment that proved that ignorance is, in fact, bliss. He has also worked on many different public radio programs, including Radiolab, Marketplace, All Things Considered, Only a Game, and Studio 360.

On May 10, Cole will give a talk and lead a discussion based on his experiences in public radio. A reception with cash bar will take place on the patio from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by the talk. This event is free and open to the public.

Sean has said, “I remember telling a classmate that I wished I could be on Plan for the rest of my life. I got my wish. I spend my life trying to explain things that interest me to people who are interested in hearing about them.”

He will receive an honorary degree from Marlboro in recognition of his achievements, as will artists Emily Mason and Wolf Kahn.

“Both Emily and Wolf have an intimate understanding of the distinctive education Marlboro offers students, and how crucial this student-focused, liberal arts education is in a rapidly changing world,” said Quigley. “Their generous support of the visual arts at Marlboro and their example as artists that follow their passion are valuable ideals for our students and our community.”

A longtime Marlboro trustee, Kahn is a world-renowned artist living and working in New York City and Vermont. His paintings and pastels may be found in the collections of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.

Kahn is a member of the National Academy of Design and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Scholarship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

Mason has spent more than six decades exploring her own distinctive vein of lyrical, luminous abstraction. Since her first solo show in 1960 at the Area Gallery, Mason has exhibited regularly in New York City.

In 1979, she was awarded the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize by the National Academy. She taught painting at Hunter College for more than 25 years, and her work is included in numerous public and private collections.

“Marlboro is lucky to have benefited from such a long and fruitful association with Emily and Wolf,” said Quigley. Examples of their support include serving as an outside examiner and providing funding to complete the welding shop, equip the sculpture studio, and provide a storage facility for the artwork of former faculty member Frank Stout. “Their support of visual arts at the college has had a lasting impact.”

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates