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Dawn Knickerbocker to be Commencement Speaker

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Antioch College is pleased to announce Dawn Knickerbocker has been selected by the graduating class as the 2021 Commencement speaker. Commencement will be held virtually on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 1:00 PM. Commencement will be streamed on the College’s website and available on the College’s YouTube channel. Similar to last year’s virtual Commencement ceremony, a live watch party will be hosted for graduates and their families. Details for that event will be sent to graduates closer to Commencement.

Dawn Knickerbocker standing outside in a field surrounded by trees

2021 Commencement speaker Dawn Knickerbocker

Dawn Knickerbocker (she/her/hers/kwe) belongs to the Anishinaabe people, is a citizen of White Earth Nation/ gaa waabaabiganikaag, and enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe from the Ottertail Pillager Band of Indians. 

An activist, advocate, organizational strategist, land- and water-defender, and a leader in the philanthropic sector, Knickerbocker believes that peace is not merely a distant goal but can be achieved within our lifetime through deeply connected and authentic relationships with the land and the people. Having spent over 20 years of her work life as a grassroots organizer on the front lines of some of the most critical battles for comprehensive equity and the elimination of institutionalized oppression, she now serves as the president of the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition, as well as co-founder of WARN Ohio and Yellow Springs Climate Action.

She has spent the majority of her career working in nonprofit leadership and in practice of reciprocity within philanthropy. Knickerbocker worked as a grant-maker in Washington State when she designed and implemented Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA) that serves over a million people. Recently, Knickerbocker worked as the director of Foundation Relations at Antioch College and now works full time for Native Americans in Philanthropy, which serves all of Indian Country on cultural and Tribal issues.

Knickerbocker is the former elected Chair of the Advisory Commission on Diversity for the most diverse city in the State of Washington, Renton. She is a published nonfiction writer, poet, public speaker, columnist at the Yellow Springs News’ Little Thunders column, and in 2020 received the Coretta Scott King Center’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award.

Knickerbocker holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Whitworth University, completed graduate work in Social Impact from Claremont Lincoln University, and a Master’s on Arts in Human Rights Practice from University of Arizona. Her latest anthology is titled NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC: Stories of Hope and Resilience. Dawn resides in Yellow Springs, OH, with her husband, four sons, and 49 houseplants.