2023 Department Commencement

The Department of Political Science will welcome guests to our annual commencement ceremony. Diplomas and department awards will be distributed and the graduating class will be recognized. This event will require a ticket for attendance. Each graduating student will have the opportunity to request up to four (4) tickets for their guests.

Duke University Department of Political Science Commencement Ceremony
Sunday, May 14
12 PM
Penn Pavilion [Map]

Nancy Hogshead-Makar at Duke
Nancy Hogshead on a campus bench with classmates, 1984.

This year's keynote speaker is Nancy Hogshead-Makar (T '86).  
Nancy Hogshead is an Olympic champion, a civil rights lawyer, and the founder and CEO of Champion Women, a non- profit providing legal advocacy for girls and women in sports. Her focus areas include equal play, such as traditional Title IX compliance in athletic departments, sexual harassment, abuse and assault, upholding sport’s sex-segregation, as well as employment, pregnancy and sexual orientation discrimination. Hogshead capped eight years as a world class swimmer at the 1984 Olympics, where she won three gold medals and one silver medal.

She and Champion Women led a 13-year effort to protect athletes from sexual abuse in club and Olympic sports, that is, sport not associated with schools. She galvanized the sport, child protection, and civil rights communities in support of a new federal law, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act, signed into law in February 2018, and the Empowering Olympians, Paralympians and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020 signed into law in November of that year.

As an internationally recognized legal expert on sports issues, Hogshead has testified in Congress numerous times and written numerous scholarly and lay articles. Her book, co-authored with Andrew Zimbalist, EQUAL PLAY, TITLE IX AND SOCIAL CHANGE, has received acclaim. The book tracks the history of the law, and how it wove between Congress, the administrative agencies, the courts and the public opinion. She was the lead author of PREGNANT AND PARENTING STUDENT-ATHLETES; RESOURCES AND MODEL POLICIES, published by the NCAA. She serves as an expert witness in Title IX athletics, sexual abuse, violence and harassment cases and writes amicus briefs representing athletic organizations in precedent-setting litigation. Hogshead has a passion for teaching; she has been teaching Sports Law and Administration for 20 years, most recently at Rutgers’ Global Sports Business Graduate Program.

1977 East German dual meet awards
Nancy Hogshead at the 1977 East German dual meet awards.

She and Champion Women are founding members of the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group; seeking to affirm the legal permissibility of formal sex segregation in sports and changing areas. She has served on the NCAA Task Force on Gender Equity, and on the boards of Equality League, the Association of Title IX Administrators, the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society, the One Love Foundation, the editorial board of the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport. and on the Executive Committee of the World Olympians Association. She was the Co-Chair of American Bar Association Committee on the Rights of Women for nine years.