I was honored to receive a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from my Alma mater, Union College, yesterday during their Commencement for the Class of 2012.  Union College was the first institution to issue an honorary doctorate to Thomas Edison in 1878, and I am humbled to be included now among the ranks of those receiving an honorary degree from Union.

DYLAN RATIGAN, Class of 1994 – journalist, author, advocate and political reformer – we are pleased to honor you today, and proud that Union has played a role in launching your career.

You once said in an interview that you intend to “do as much as possible to address…the structural misaligned interests in America.”

During your career, you have done precisely that. Never shy about taking a stand, you have exposed greed and wealth inequality. And you have tirelessly advocated for reform of our nation’s political and financial systems.

Since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, your work has brought to the attention of millions the extent to which public and private interests influence the U.S. government’s economic policy. You lead a large and growing nonprofit organization dedicated to banning corporate campaign contributions. In your writing, you have argued that for the first time in history, technology can play a vital role in promoting a transparency of information that will enhance the common good.

Throughout your career, you have stood with those who for economic reasons find themselves at the political margins. As a native of the Adirondack region, where your mother was a social worker, you understand the struggle of those who live in poverty. Though you identify yourself as conservative, you have given voice to those who feel disenfranchised.

It is with admiration for your dedication to economic justice and your commitment to create fairness for all who seek the American dream that Union College presents you with an honorary degree.

By the authority vested by the Regents of the University of the State of New York in the Trustees of Union College and delegated by the Trustee to me, I am happy to confer on you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto.

Stephen C. Ainlay, Ph.D.
Union College Commencement
June 10, 2012