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Eric H. Holder, Jr. and Soledad O’Brien to Receive Honorary Degrees from Stony Brook University

Eric holder

Eric H. Holder, Jr. and Soledad O’Brien to Receive Honorary Degrees from Stony Brook University

STONY BROOK, NY, April 27, 2016 – Stony Brook University will confer honorary degrees this year upon two distinguished professionals who have made lasting contributions in their respective fields.  Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, will receive a Doctor of Law; and Award-winning journalist and Long Island native, Soledad O’Brien, will receive a Doctor of Letters. Holder and O’Brien will address the class of 2016 and don academic regalia along with nearly 6,000 students as they join in the University’s 56th Commencement ceremony, held May 20, 2016 at LaValle Stadium.

“This is a remarkable distinction for the class of 2016, to be joined by individuals who personify what Stony Brook embraces — the relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to make a real difference,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “Eric Holder embodies the progress and values of our country through his strong leadership and legacy of justice and fortitude. Soledad O’Brien exemplifies the vision of our University as she is actively engaged in the critical issues of our time — initiating and exploring important national conversations. I am looking forward to officially welcoming Eric Holder and Soledad O’Brien as fellow Seawolves.”

Eric H. Holder, Jr.

About the Honorary Degree Recipients

Eric H. Holder, Jr. served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States under the leadership of President Barack Obama (2009-2015) who praised him for his “toughness and independence”. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Holder is the first African American to hold this position. While U.S. Attorney, Holder announced and oversaw $1 Billion in federal grants to law enforcement agencies in every state to support the hiring of police officers. He actively aided the war against terrorism, providing the names of the conspirators for the September 11 attacks. Holder previously served as a United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for President Bill Clinton, a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia appointed by Ronald Reagan and the Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno. Holder earned a Bachelor of Arts in American History from Columbia University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.


Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O’Brien is an American broadcast journalist, executive producer and philanthropist who has become a fixture in global news on major platforms. A former co-anchor of CNN’s American Morning, O’Brien is now chairman of the Starfish Media Group, reporting and producing stories that have appeared on CNN, HBO and Al Jazeera America. Before joining CNN, O’Brien anchored NBC’s Weekend Today and contributed reports for weekend editions of NBC Nightly News. O’Brien’s recent noteworthy documentaries include Black in America: The New Promised Land. O’Brien has be recognized for numerous awards and honors including two Emmy Awards, George Foster Peabody awards, an Alfred I. DuPont Award, a NAACP President’s Award, the CINE Golden Eagle Award and “Journalist of the Year” from the National Association of Black Journalists. O’Brien is a Harvard University graduate and daughter of Edward O’Brien, a founding professor at Stony Brook.

For more information about the 56th Commencement ceremony visit



About Stony Brook University

Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 25,000 students and 2,500 faculty. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 100 universities in the nation and top 40 public universities, and Kiplinger names it one of the 35 best values in public colleges. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. A global ranking by U.S. News & World Report places Stony Brook in the top 1 percent of institutions worldwide.  It is one of only 10 universities nationwide recognized by the National Science Foundation for combining research with undergraduate education. As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4 percent of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.

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