March 3, 2017

Robert Parris Moses to speak at Penn GSE Commencement May 13

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Robert Parris Moses, educator and civil rights activist, will deliver the keynote address at Penn GSE’s commencement ceremony on May 13. Mr. Moses is president and founder of the Algebra Project, Inc., which prepares students who have performed in the lowest quartile on standardized exams to graduate from high school on time and ready to take college mathematics.

Moses began his commitment to mathematics education in the 1970s, when he taught mathematics in Tanzania, East Africa. By 1982, he had used his MacArthur Fellowship award to begin the Algebra Project, starting in one school in Cambridge, MA, and growing to serve hundreds of schools throughout the country. 

Moses has received numerous awards and honors, including the Heinz Award for the Human Condition and the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. He is co-author of the 2001 book Radical Equations—Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project and co-editor of 2010’s Quality Education as a Constitutional Right—Creating a Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Schools. As a civil rights activist, he is known for his work in educating and registering African American voters in Mississippi during the Civil Rights movement.

An adjunct lecturer at the NYU School of Law from 2012–2016, Moses was named a Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of ‘56 Professor at Cornell University in 2006 and served as a Distinguished Visitor for Princeton’s Center for African American Studies in 2011–2012. He has served on the Education Advisory Committee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute since 2004. 

A frequent keynote speaker nationwide, Moses is the subject of Laura Visser-Maessen’s 2016 biography Robert Parris Moses–A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots. Moses was born and raised in Harlem, NY, where he attended public schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Hamilton College in 1956, a master’s degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1957, and numerous honorary doctorate degrees.

Penn GSE is delighted to have Mr. Moses be a part of this special occasion to celebrate the accomplishments our graduates.

Photo courtesy of Michael Lisnet, Math for America