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Max Kenner Receives Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award

Max Kenner Receives Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award

On October 16, Kenner was honored at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. as Smithsonian magazine announced winners of the third annual American Ingenuity Awards. The awards recognize the year’s most amazing achievements and the innovators behind them. Called the “Golden Globes of Intellect” by Washingtonian magazine, the event included presenter Stephen Hawking and many other leaders in their fields. “Smithsonian magazine’s editorial team has selected an exceptional group of honorees who each embody our mission of increasing knowledge and shaping the world of tomorrow,” said Smithsonian magazine editor-in-chief Michael Caruso.

The Washington Post featured an excerpt of Kenner's speech, saying "[he] gave a moving acceptance speech about the largely untapped potential of prison inmates."

Expert Advocates Freeing Minds of Prisoners to See Potential

Expert Advocates Freeing Minds of Prisoners to See Potential
The powerful impact that higher education has on prison culture and incarcerated individuals was recently brought to the fore by Smithsonian honoree Max Kenner, founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative.

In his speech, he told the audience that by providing incarcerated men and women with educations comparable to any college student, they become inspired and, perhaps for the ­ first time, see their place in the world.

Many have felt marginalized, heard that higher education wasn’t for them or felt disconnected from society. Engaging in intellectual pursuit and ­finding purpose changes not only the individual, but his or her relationships with family and the world, according to Kenner.

10th Anniversary Film

A milestone was marked in 2011 as the Bard Prison Initiative celebrated its 10th year of providing meaningful higher education and opportunity to incarcerated men and women. To document a decade of student and alumni achievements in New York and through the national Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, BPI produced a twelve-minute film, made by filmmaker Frank duPont.

Celebrating BPI's 11th Commencement

The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) held its 11th commencement at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Woodbourne, New York, on Saturday, May 31. BPI awarded associate in arts degrees to 36 students. The commencement speaker was Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, D–New York, who was honored with Bard College’s John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service.