AIC Celebrates its 139th Commencement with Keynote Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient Michael D. Smith, CEO of AmeriCorps

Michael D. Smith


SPRINGFIELD, MA – American International College (AIC) is proud to announce its 139th Commencement ceremony, on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 10 a.m. at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. Members of the AIC Board of Trustees and the President’s Cabinet will preside over the ceremony.

Michael D. Smith, chief executive officer of AmeriCorps, will deliver the Commencement address to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral recipients in the Class of 2024. CEO Smith, a Springfield, Mass. native, will also be conferred with an honorary degree from AIC.

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement. Each year, the agency places more than 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles; and empowers millions more to serve as long-term, short-term, or one-time volunteers. Last year more than 7,600 Americans of all ages and backgrounds united to meet local needs, strengthen communities, and expand opportunity through national service in Massachusetts.

Smith, who holds a bachelor of arts in communications from Marymount University, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from AIC in recognition of his commitment to advancing social justice and his transformative leadership in public service.

During his tenure at AmeriCorps, CEO Smith has sharpened the agency’s focus on equity, investing in what works and uniting communities through the power of service. Notably, Smith has been appointed to senior leadership roles by two United States Presidents. President Joseph Biden nominated him for his current position in 2021; the United States Senate confirmed Smith later that year.

Previously, Smith served in President Barack Obama’s White House as special assistant to the president and senior director of cabinet affairs, overseeing the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and interagency task force. My Brother’s Keeper led to new federal policy initiatives and grant programs; tens of thousands of new mentors; more than 250 MBK communities; and more than $1 billion in private sector and philanthropic investments.

Before taking the helm of AmeriCorps, Smith served as executive director of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and director of Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation. Also, in a previous role at AmeriCorps, Smith was director of the Social Innovation Fund. He also spent many years as a philanthropic leader, most recently serving as senior vice president of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation.

A renowned thought leader on service, Smith has lent his expertise to print, online, and broadcast news channels, including CNN, NPR, The Hill, C-Span, The Grio, and recently published in The Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Next Generation Evidence book, as well as numerous local and regional outlets.

AIC is honoring Smith for a career dedicated to social justice, exemplified by his efforts to dismantle barriers and enhance opportunities for children and families in underserved communities, such as the one where he grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. Early in his career, Smith served as a senior staff member at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club Family Center on Acorn Street and was an aide to Congressman Richard E. Neal, an AIC alumnus.

Smith is a senior Atlantic fellow for racial equity and a member of Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Alumni Hall of Fame, the highest honor bestowed by the organization. In addition to those appointments, he served on the board of directors of Results for America, Venture Philanthropy Partners, Public Allies,, and Philanthropy for Active and Civic Engagement.


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