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Covid-19 Campus Updates: Current Status & Our Response


2022 Commencement

Erikson Institute 2022 Commencement
2022 Commencement

Congratulations Class of 2022

The entire Erikson community celebrates the amazing achievements of our graduates, who have earned their degrees during one of the most challenging times in recent history. The class of 2022 managed through a pandemic and remote learning, all while balancing work and home responsibilities. You are truly a remarkable group!

Because of pandemic-related considerations at the time we were planning, we committed to a virtual commencement ceremony. You can watch the recording on Erikson’s YouTube channel.

And our graduates are invited to stay connected with Erikson through our Alumni efforts.

Mariana Souto-Manning

A Message from the President

Graduates, you have made us all proud as you chose to be part of a community that values diversity, inclusion, and social justice. When you joined Erikson, you could not have envisioned that you would be completing your degree requirements in the throes of a global pandemic. And yet, despite the uncertainty, you persevered.

Throughout my life, I have known that it is essential to know your history as it reveals the present and you can work towards a restorative future.

The pandemic has pulled the curtain back to reveal that the education system is broken, and it has shined a spotlight on the inequities that have long existed in Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. The future of the field needs our vision of a better future for young children, families, and our communities.

As the 5th President of Erikson, my mission and Erikson’s mission are aligned towards a North Star vision and we are committed to the pursuit of justice as advocates for inclusive teaching while righting the wrongs of the past for all our children.

Graduates, we look forward to seeing all that you accomplish in your next chapter: know the power of children, be firm in your core values, keep the same drive that got you to this day as you are now equipped to take on a world that needs you now more than ever.

Congratulations and please stay connected to your Erikson family!

Honorary Degree Recipients

Patricia K. Kuhl

Patricia K. Kuhl, PhD

Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences and Co-Director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington

Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl holds the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, is Co-Director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, and Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

She is internationally recognized for her research on early language learning and bilingual brain development. She pioneered brain measures that show how young children learn, and presented her work at the Clinton White House, the Bush White House, and the Obama White House.

Dr. Kuhl is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Rodin Academy, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Psychological Society, and the Cognitive Science Society. Dr. Kuhl received the Silver Medal and the Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America. She was awarded the IPSEN Foundation’s Jean-Louis Signoret Neuropsychology Prize, the William James Lifetime Achievement Award, the George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience, and the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award.

Dr. Kuhl co-authored The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, and How Children Learn.

Chris Harris

Pastor Chris Harris

Founder and CEO, Bright Star Community

Pastor Chris Harris leads Bright Star Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville Community and has ministered in more than 24 countries singing Gospel and Jazz.

He leads a church with more than 750 members and his mission is to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ while serving the community as a holistic ministry, touching the mind, body, and spirit.

He is the founder of Bright Star Community Outreach which is dedicated to youth and family anti-violence programs. He developed the program TURN (The Urban Resilience Network) Center to focus on five core competencies: counseling, parenting, mentorship, workforce development, and advocacy. Its unique model, based on the Israeli model NATAL in Tel Aviv, utilizes leaders as trauma counselors and community surveys to assess the services needed in the community. Bright Star Community Outreach and partners developed the Greater Bronzeville Community Action Plan to ensure a holistic, community-level impact on violence and trauma.

Pastor Harris is the Chairman of the Bronzeville Community Action Council, a member of the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) Community Advisory Council, a National Council Member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and has served as President of the 4th Ward and Cook County Clergy Coalitions.

He’s the proud husband of Jojo Harris and is a proud father of four children.

Pastor Harris’s commitment to early childhood care and education deepened as a graduate of Erikson’s 2019 Executive Fellows Cohort and is reflected in his work with his community.