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Journalist, Author Tapped as 158th Commencement Speaker
Journalist, Author Tapped as 158th Commencement Speaker
Journalist, Author Tapped as 158th Commencement Speaker

April 21, 2016

New York Times journalist and author Kim Barker will deliver the keynote address at Susquehanna University's 158th commencement to be held at 2:30 p.m. May 15 in the field house of the James W. Garrett Sports Complex.

Barker is best known for The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, her darkly comic memoir that looks back on her years as the South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune between 2004 and 2009. The book was adapted into the film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, in which Barker was portrayed by well-known comedienne Tina Fey.

Barker will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Susquehanna University President L. Jay Lemons, as will Joseph and Ellen Weis Goldstein, friends of the university.

Approximately 490 students are expected to graduate this spring. Commencement day will begin with a Baccalaureate service, a festive ecumenical event of praise and thanksgiving, scheduled for 10 a.m. in Weber Chapel Auditorium. A commencement luncheon for graduating students and guests will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center's Evert Dining Room. For more details on the weekend's schedule of events, go here.

Kim Barker

As the South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune, Barker directed coverage of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. After leaving the Tribune, she became the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, spending her time studying and writing about South Asia. She then covered nonprofits and campaign finance for the nonprofit investigative news outlet ProPublica.

Barker joined The New York Times in June 2014, focusing on investigative stories for the metro desk. She has won numerous awards for investigative reporting, with her work appearing in Foreign Affairs, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post and The Atlantic. She has also appeared on The Colbert Report, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets.

Joseph and Ellen Weis Goldstein

Ellen Weis Goldstein is the daughter of the late Sigfried and Janet Weis, and the granddaughter of the late Sigmund Weis, a 1903 graduate for whom the university's Sigmund Weis School of Business is named. Joseph is an attorney with Murphy & McGonigle, PC, in Washington, D.C.

In 2011, the Goldsteins established an endowment for the Sigfried Weis Prize for Academic Excellence and the Janet C. Weis Prize for Literary Excellence. In 2008, they established the Joseph I. and Ellen Weis Goldstein Fund for Jewish Life and Learning, which was initially funded by gifts from Janet Weis and the Degenstein Foundation.

The Goldstein-Weis Prize Endowment, established in 2002, now supports four annual awards for rising Susquehanna University seniors who demonstrate the capacity for leadership, achievement and service in and out of the classroom. The Sidney and Carole Apfelbaum Prize is awarded to a liberal arts major who excels not only in a liberal arts discipline, but also in the creative or performing arts. The Joel and Trudy Cunningham Prize is awarded to a mathematics or science major who excels not only in the discipline, but also in the creative or performing arts.

The Sigmund Weis Prize is awarded to a business major who excels not only in the business curriculum, but also in the liberal arts. The Michael and Christina Apfelbaum Prize is awarded to a rising junior or senior who excels academically and whose record of community service has been exemplary.

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