A committee of students, faculty, and staff elected to honor these four visionaries at the 2013 Commencement exercises for their contributions to design, social discourse, and global culture, that mirror The New School's core values.
Nate Silver, this year's commencement speaker, is the founding blogger of FiveThirtyEight at The New York Times. He is globally renowned for his innovative, accessible, and highly accurate statistical analyses of political polls and Major League Baseball. Silver first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when he correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states. In the 2012 election, Silver predicted the winner in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Silver also developed PECOTA, a software system that predicts the performance of Major League Baseball players, which was later sold to Baseball Prospectus.
In April of 2009 Silver was named one of Time's "Time 100." His bestselling recent book The Signal and the Noise, was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2012 by Amazon.com. Silver earned his A.B. in economics from the University of Chicago in 2000, and also studied at the London School of Economics.
Caterina Fake is an accomplished web entrepreneur and the founder of Flickr, the photo hosting and sharing site. Launched in 2004, Flickr popularized the seamless exchange of digital photography around the world. Flickr currently has more than 51 million registered members and hosts more than six billion images. Fake is also the cofounder of Hunch, which aims to personalize the web through recommendations and a massive "Taste Graph." Her most recent venture is Findery, a location-based app that encourages people to leave notes all around the world. Fake is also chairman of the board of Etsy, serves on the board of Creative Commons, and is an active angel investor.
Fake has been named a "Best Leader of 2005" by BusinessWeek, one of Fast Company's "Fast 50," and one of Time's "Time 100." She has also appeared on the cover of Newsweek. She graduated from Vassar College in 1991.
Joichi Ito is the director of MIT Media Lab and a leading thinker and writer on innovation, global technology policy, and the role of the Internet in positively transforming society. A vocal advocate for democracy, privacy, and Internet freedom, Ito has served as both board chair and CEO of Creative Commons, and currently sits on the boards of Creative Commons, The Knight Foundation, The Mozilla Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, The New York Times Company, and WITNESS. While in Japan, he was a founder of Digital Garage, and helped establish and later became CEO of the country's first commercial Internet service provider.
Ito was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "25 Most Influential People on the Web" in 2008. In 2011, he was chosen by Foreign Policy as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers," and honored with the Oxford Internet Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his advocacy for Internet freedom. In 2011 and 2012, Ito was chosen by Nikkei Business as one of the 100 most influential people for the future of Japan.
Khalil Gibran Muhammad is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of the world's leading research facilities dedicated to the history of the African diaspora. Prior to joining the Schomburg Center in 2011, Muhammad was an associate professor of history at Indiana University where he wrote the book The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America, which examines the roots of the popular conception of black criminality in America. Muhammad's research has appeared in major media outlets including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and National Public Radio.
Before teaching at Indiana University, Muhammad completed a fellowship at the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit criminal justice reform agency in New York City. In 2004, he earned his PhD in American history from Rutgers University, specializing in 20th century and African-American history. Muhammad is the great-grandson of Elijah Muhammad, and the son of Ozier Muhammad, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer.