2013 Commencement Honorees
Wolf Blitzer is CNN’s lead political anchor and the anchor of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. He has been with CNN for more than 20 years, beginning as its Pentagon correspondent and going on to cover the top stories of the day at home and abroad. He moderated three Republican presidential debates in 2012, spearheaded CNN’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of the 2008 presidential primary debates and campaigns, and led Emmy-winning election coverage in 2006 and 2004.
Blitzer began his career in 1972 at Reuters in Tel Aviv, and in the decades since, his distinctive reporting from the Middle East has included on-site coverage of the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace negotiations, dispatches from Beirut in 1982, reports from the Persian Gulf in 2003 and from Israel during its 2006 war with Hezbollah, and a recent interview with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy. Blitzer has also interviewed Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, and foreign leaders including the Dalai Lama, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and South African President Nelson Mandela.
After majoring in history at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Blitzer earned a master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is the author of Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter’s Notebook, and Territory of Lies, about Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
Anne Pasternak, the president and artistic director of Creative Time, has brought great art to millions of people in New York City and around the world. In her 19 years at Creative Time, Pasternak has led the way in changing the face and scope of public art and enabling those who live and work outside the traditional art scene to view and experience innovative, moving, and provocative works.
After studying art history at the University of Massachusetts and the graduate program at Hunter, Pasternak began working in her lower-Manhattan loft to produce ambitious public projects. She had few material resources but was motivated by a powerful vision of bringing great art to urban spaces, and through that art, transforming how people view their immediate surroundings, the wider world, and their own role in that world. Pasternak continued to pursue her vision after joining Creative Time and building it into a formidable organization. The result has been major projects at such sites as Grand Central Station, Coney Island, and the World Trade Center, where the 9/11 victims were memorialized in a far-reaching way by the deeply moving “Tribute of Light.”
At age 23, Chuck Schumer began his lifelong career in public service. After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he returned to his native Brooklyn and made a successful run for the New York State Assembly. The youngest member of the state legislature since Theodore Roosevelt, he quickly made his mark as a vigorous advocate for his constituents. In 1980, he won the seat for the Ninth Congressional District, representing parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
Schumer served in the House for 18 years, earning a reputation as a strong consumer advocate and leader in the fight against crime. In 1998, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he has made New York’s economy his top priority. He delivered over $20 billion in aid to New York City following 9/11, authored legislation enabling low-cost generic medications to enter the marketplace, and led the charge to make college tuition tax deductible. Today he chairs the Senate Rules Committee, which oversees federal elections, voting rights and campaign finance. He also serves on the Finance Committee; the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and the Judiciary Committee, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security.