Commencement 2021

We are delighted to announce that we will be holding an in-person, socially distanced commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021 on May 21 at 10 am. It will be a drive-in event at the Danversport Yacht Club, 161 Elliott St., Danvers (Directions here), with the students and audience viewing from their safely distanced vehicles (lawn chairs will also be permitted if the weather is amenable).

Along with a stage, we will have large screens arranged for viewing and an FM transmitter so families can tune their car radios to the feed. Additionally, the ceremony will be live-streamed so loved ones not in attendance can watch from home.

The ceremony itself will include faculty, student, and keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient, Dr. Leslie King Hammond, founder of the Maryland Institute College of Art Center for Race and Culture, as well as the Studio Museum of Harlem, among other notable accomplishments. President Kurt T. Steinberg, Dean of Academic Affairs Brian Pellinen, and Montserrat Board Chair Kent Wosepka will also make remarks.

All participants will be required to wear a mask except when they are speaking. Students will walk on stage one at a time, and be awarded their diploma and greeted by President Kurt. There will be no handshaking, and everyone on stage will be masked unless speaking. Each student may remove their mask for a photograph with their diploma. A video of the entire event will be posted on our website and a link will be sent to members of the graduating class afterward.

Families and guests will need to register ahead of time for the event, as only one car will be allowed per student. Any families or guests that may require accommodation for this rule should reach out to Jo Broderick, Dean of College Relations and Special Assistant to the President. If any students themselves do not have transportation to the event, we will make arrangements to get them to Danversport.

At this point in time, state guidelines do not allow for a reception following the event, so attendees are urged  to make reservations at any of the great North Shore restaurants in Beverly, Salem, Danvers or Peabody (or beyond) to celebrate with your student.

More details, including how we will register guests, will be provided as the event gets closer and we learn more from state guidance. 

It is our hope that seniors will participate in this event, and that they and their families both will have the opportunity to recognize their achievement.


Leslie King Hammond

Leslie King Hammond was born in the South Bronx and grew up in South Jamaica and Hollis-Queens, New York and was educated in the New York City public school system. In 1966 she was awarded a SEEK Grant (Search for Education, Evaluation, and Knowledge) at Queens College (CUNY) and graduated with a BFA degree. In 1969 she attended Johns Hopkins University with a Horizon Fellowship and Kress Fellowship in the Department of the History of Art. In 1973 she began teaching art history at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and in 1976, after completing her doctoral degree, was appointed Dean of Graduate Studies at MICA and continued to teach art history courses. In 2008, King Hammond became the Founding Director for the Center for Race and Culture at MICA. She received Mellon Grants for Faculty Research in 1988, 1989, and 2005. In 2008 MICA awarded her the Medal of Honor. King Hammond was granted a Curatorial Fellowship (2008) from the Andy Warhol Foundation and in 2009 won an exhibition grant from the Warhol Foundation. King Hammond became Professor Emerita in 2014 and granted a Senior Research Fellowship (2014-2019) with the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, to assist creating Motor House – an arts hub and Open Works – a maker lab, in Baltimore City.

1983-1986 she served as a Trustee of the Baltimore Museum of Art. 1985-1998, King Hammond was the Project Director the for Ford/Phillip Morris Fellowships for Artists of Color at MICA (including Yale School of Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and California Institute of the Arts). She has been active on juries, boards, cultural organizations, and art commissions including Advisory Board/External Examiner, Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts, Jamaica, W.I. (1988-1992) Executive Board, International Association of Art Critics (2000-2003); President, College Art Association (1996-1998); Board of Overseers, Baltimore School for the Arts (1996-1999); Vice President, Jacob Lawrence Catalog Raisonne Project, (1997- 2000); Board member, Center For Emerging Artists (2005-2007); Board of Directors, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, (2002- 2006), Board Chair, Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (2005-2015), Interim Executive Director(2016), and Board member (2005-Present) and the  Board of Directors of the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation/BARCO (2015-Present).

Selected exhibitions and publication projects include “Celebrations: Myth and Ritual in African American Art, Studio Museum in Harlem,1982;  “The  Intuitive Eye”, Maryland Art Place, 1985; ‘ Art as a Verb’ (MICA, Studio Museum in Harlem,MetLife Gallery, 1988/1989; “Black Printmakers and the WPA”, Lehman Gallery of Art, New York, 1989; “Masters, Mentors, and Makers”, Artscape ’92, MICA Decker Gallery, 1992; “Gumbo Ya Ya – An Anthology of Contemporary African American Women Artists”, Midmarch Arts Press, 1995; “Three Generations of African American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox”,1996;  Vice President and essayist for the Jacob Lawrence Catalog Riasonné Project, “Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence”, University of Washington Press, 2000; “Sugar and Spice: The Art of Betye Saar”, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 2003; “Aminah Robinson: Aesthetic Realities/Artistic Vision in The Art of Aminah Robinson”, Columbus Museum of Art, 2003; and ‘Inner Being/Altered States: Painting the Life-Worlds of Beverly McIver’s Realities’ in “The Many Faces of Beverly McIver”, 40 Acres Gallery, 2004 and “Hughie Lee-Smith – American Artist, 2010, Pomegranate Press. Co-curated with Lowery S. Sims, “The Global Africa Project”, Museum of Art and Design, 2010; “Ashe’ to Amen – African Americans and Biblical Imagery,” Museum of Biblical Art and Reginald Lewis Museum, 2012; Co-curated with Lowery S. Sims, “Brides of Anase”. Spelman Art Museum, 2014/2015; “Jacob Lawrence – The American Struggle Series,” Peabody Essex Museum, 2020/2021.

The Cincinnati Art Institute conferred King Hammond the Degree of Honorary Doctorate in1988. King Hammond has won Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Studio Museum in Harlem (2002), Lifetime Service Medal, MICA (2005), The DuBois Circle (2006), Women’s Art Caucus-College Art Association (2008), and the James A. Porter Colloquium, Howard University (2008).The Detroit Institute of the Arts awarded her the Alain Locke International Prize in 2010. In 2012 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from ArtTable, the Maryland Institute College of Art – Award for Distinguished Service in 2014. The Leslie King Hammond Graduate Fellowship was established at MICA in 2016. More than 100 students have been granted awards.

King Hammond is also a practicing artist, creating mixed media fiber works and bricolage installations that explore the global anonymity of women’s work, domestic material culture, spirituality and African religious retention in the African Diaspora.