Harvard’s McCarthy is commencement speaker

Award-winning historian, educator, and social justice activist Timothy Patrick McCarthy will be the guest speaker for Thayer Academy’s Commencement exercises to be held Saturday, June 11, at 9:30 a.m. on the front lawn of Main Campus. 

The Harvard University professor already serves as the Academy’s inaugural Scholar-in-Residence for Leadership and Communication, an initiative spearheaded by Head of School Chris Fortunato P ‘26, ‘28. In that role, McCarthy has led professional development of faculty and staff, led two roundtable discussions — one on media bias and the other on LGBTQ+ rights — and worked with Fortunato to develop the course The Art of Communication, a senior elective. McCarthy also leads a master class on leadership and communication for more than 40 students and faculty/staff. 

"It’s a wonderful opportunity to help honor the Class of 2022 at Thayer's Commencement ceremony this year,” said McCarthy. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my work with students, faculty, staff, and alumni.” 

At Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, McCarthy is core faculty in the Equity & Opportunity Foundations Curriculum; the Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship (ELOE) Program; and the new online master’s program in Education Leadership. At the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where McCarthy was the first openly gay/queer faculty member and still teaches the school’s only course on LGBTQ matters, he is faculty affiliate at the Center for Public Leadership.

McCarthy is also the Stanley Paterson Professor of American History and Academic Co-Director of the Boston Clemente Course, a free college humanities course for lower income adults in Dorchester, and co-recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. McCarthy, the adopted only son and grandson of public school teachers and factory workers, has taught in the Clemente Course since its founding in 2001 and was honored with the 2014 Codman Square Health Center Outstanding Community Service Award for his work.

McCarthy graduated with honors in history and literature from Harvard College and earned his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. A noted historian of politics and social movements, he is author or editor of six books, including Reckoning with History: Unfinished Stories of American Freedom and Stonewall’s Children: Living Queer History in an Age of Liberation, Loss, and Love, forthcoming from the New Press. A frequent media commentator whose work has been featured in The Nation, NPR, Al Jazeera, BBC, and numerous podcasts, McCarthy was special guest editor for The Nation’s historic “Reclaiming Stonewall 50” forum.

Twice named one of Harvard Crimson’s “Professors of the Year,” McCarthy is also creative director, head writer, and interviewer for True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs, a new PBS program which premieres in June.

In all, Thayer’s Class of 2022 includes 119 graduating seniors. In the event of rain, ceremonies will be held in the school’s Alumni Gym. 

Members of the Thayer community will be able to watch the Commencement ceremony live online via a computer or mobile device. More details will be forthcoming in an email that will be sent to community members. 

Thayer Academy Timothy Patrick McCarthy Commencement 2022

Harvard professor Timothy Patrick McCarthy will be this year’s Commencement speaker. (Courtesy photo by Martha Stewart) 


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