Patty Q. Stonesifer, the president and CEO of Martha’s Table, and the founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be the 2015 Commencement speaker and honoree at Trinity Washington University. “At this point in her remarkable career, Ms. Stonesifer had many options,” said President Patricia McGuire. “She deliberately chose to serve the neediest citizens of this city and this region — those who are hungry and sometimes homeless, who need education and who are often marginalized. In choosing to devote her time and talent to the communities of need that Martha’s Table serves, Ms. Stonesifer truly embodies Trinity’s values of social justice and service to others.”
Trinity’s Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 16, at 4:00 p.m. Stonesifer will be presented with an honorary doctor of letters for her untiring commitment to service to those in need and for her exemplary leadership for social justice
Martha’s Table is a major nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that supports families and individuals working to break the cycle of poverty by providing healthy food, affordable clothing and quality education. Since she joined Martha’s Table in 2013, Patty Stonesifer’s focus is on deepening and expanding Martha’s Table’s programs to reach more than 15 locations around the city to help kids succeed in school, and to help parents contribute to their children’s success. Earlier this month, she announced that Martha’s Table will build a new $20 million headquarters in the Hillsdale neighborhood of Ward 8, offering the organization’s full range of child, youth, and family-focused programming: Healthy Start, Healthy Connections, and Healthy Eating. Read more about this major news announcement in The Washington Post.
Earlier this year, Trinity formed a partnership with Martha’s Table for the education of early childhood Education teachers. Many Trinity students have volunteered over the years with Martha’s Table. “Having Ms. Stonesifer speak at graduation further strengthens our partnership and signifies Trinity’s solidarity with the important work of Martha’s Table,” said President McGuire.
Stonesifer previously advised business, nonprofit and government leaders on strategies for reducing inequity and was appointed in 2010 by President Obama to serve as the chair of the White House Council for Community Solutions. In 2012, she completed her term as chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents. In the ten years prior, she was the founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She serves on D.C.’s State Early Childhood Development Coordinating Council and the board of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; is a member of the Circle of Allies and Champions for the National Council of Young Leaders and an Advisory Board Member for America Achieves; and is on the executive committee of RaiseDC. Stonesifer is a member of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and serves as an at-large member of the Federal City Council’s executive committee.
Before joining the Gates Foundation, Stonesifer spent two decades working in technology, with her final role as senior vice president at Microsoft Corporation leading the consumer and interactive products division. She is on the corporate board of Amazon.com.
Stonesifer served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions on AIDS, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a graduate of Indiana University, and has received honorary doctorate degrees from Indiana University, Tufts University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Trinity Washington University was founded in 1897 and today enrolls more than 2,200 students. Trinity offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs for students of all ages. More than 350 undergraduate and graduate diplomas will be conferred at Trinity’s 112th Commencement.