Eric Holder, Jr.
Eric Holder, Jr. Recognized with Honorary Degree at Commencement '23

Eric Holder, Jr., the first African American US Attorney General, will be recognized with an honorary degree at Commencement '23.

Holder is an advocate for civil rights and criminal justice reform and an activist for voting rights and gerrymandering reform. Raised in Queens, New York, Holder attended Stuyvesant High and earned a BA and JD from Columbia University.

Holder began his career in public service in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice. He was later appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by President Ronald Reagan, as US Attorney for the District of Columbia and Deputy Attorney General (the first African American to hold the position) by President Bill Clinton, and as US Attorney General by President Barack Obama. His criminal justice reform efforts include working to end mass incarceration; reducing obstacles facing people impacted by the criminal legal system; supporting community-oriented policing;  and de-emphasizing mandatory minimum sentencing for low-level, non-violent drug offenses. Holder’s advocacy against voter disenfranchisement includes filing lawsuits to limit partisan gerrymandering, fighting to protect vote by mail, educating young people on the importance of voting, and expanding voter education. 

Holder received honorary doctor of law degrees from Columbia University and Boston University, and a Living Legend award from the National Urban League. He was also named one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal, a Greatest Washington Lawyer of the Last 30 Years by the Legal Times, and among the 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine. Holder is a member of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Find more information about Commencement '23 here.