New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on social entrepreneur Bill Drayton -- the founder, chair, and chief executive officer of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public – at NYU’s 178th Commencement Exercises in Yankee Stadium. Over 25,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony.
The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, on Bill Drayton:
"Bill Drayton—native New Yorker, founder, chair, and chief executive officer of the global association of social entrepreneurs called Ashoka—you are one of the principal architects of a worldwide and growing engagement of the citizen sector in effecting social change. You have named, created, and pioneered the global field of social entrepreneurship—transforming institutions and improving the lives of millions. Ashoka, now 30 years old, trains and inspires thousands of extraordinarily talented individuals. Here at NYU, your example of following a demanding, disciplined path of enlightened public service finds deep resonance—from the NYU Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship, housed at the Wagner School, to the Stewart Satter Program in Social Entrepreneurship at the Berkley Center at Stern. A scholar of economics, law, and management, you hold degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Yale. Honorary Fellow of Balliol College at Oxford University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, you were selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News and World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.
"Bill Drayton—you have described a social entrepreneur as someone who cannot come to rest until he or she has changed the pattern in an area of social concern all across society. Even as you have well earned the right to rest, we know you will never cease your efforts to encourage and enable everyone to be a change maker. By virtue of the authority vested in me by New York University, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa."