The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Nadia Sasso ’11 announced as Bucknell’s 2024 Commencement Speaker

Photo+Courtesy+of+Nadia+Sasso
Photo Courtesy of Nadia Sasso

Nadia Sasso ’11, a creative producer and digital storyteller, will deliver the keynote address at Bucknell University’s 174th Commencement on Sunday, May 12, 2024.

Sasso develops engaging, cross-platform creative cultural content that uses media as a storytelling tool to connect people around the world.

She is also furthering inclusivity in the entertainment industry through her app BlaytorBox, which connects companies, brands and filmmakers to Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) professionals working in creative fields. The BlaytorBox project earned her a semifinalist position for the Black Ambition Prize, which provides capital and resources to high-growth startups founded by Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Through her entrepreneurial and creative ventures along with her passion for making connections, Sasso has worked with award-winning actress, writer and producer Issa Rae; New York Times bestselling Nigerian-American author Luvvie Ajayi; and award-winning journalist and filmmaker/producer Jose Antonio Vargas. She also has led creative campaigns working with such clients as Viacom, Nielsen, UBS, the Peace Corps and the United Nations. She has leveraged her background in diversity, marketing, communications and new media with the White House, the Smithsonian and universities all over the world. Her has also been recognized by former President Barack Obama and former network news anchor Katie Couric, among others.

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“Nadia is a gifted entrepreneur who has combined her talents and liberal arts education to find exceptional success at the intersection of communication and technology,” says Bucknell President John Bravman. “Her global perspective and passion for social issues will no doubt inspire Bucknell’s newest graduates as they embark upon their own careers.”

Sasso is also a documentary filmmaker who focuses on advocating for the Black experience in the United States. She made her creative debut in 2015 with the independent film Am I Too African to be American, Too American to be African, in which she produced and directed. The film featured Rae and was celebrated for its impact on Afro-millennials around the world. Sasso was also a writing-room consultant and occasional host for the PBS show Say It Loud.

More recently, she released an experiential art campaign, #BCuzSheSaidSo, which featured her #13AlbumsTo31 Instagram visual social campaign to inspire Black women to be unapologetic about their identity.

Sasso provides expert insight and advice on content for TV shows and films relating to the African diaspora. She is a frequent social impact honoree, public speaker and panelist at prestigious conferences and universities, and a recipient of significant recognition in major news media outlets. She was featured in the Fall 2019 Bucknell Magazine cover story.

Because of her leadership potential, Sasso was selected by the Posse Foundation to attend Bucknell, where she majored in English and sociology with a concentration in media and culture before graduating in 2011.

“English department faculty remember Nadia as a student committed to taking intellectual risks, which continues to be a mark of her success beyond Bucknell,” said English Professor and Department Chair Raphael Dalleo. “It’s been wonderful seeing her thrive professionally and put into practice what we teach in English about the power of words and images to explore the complexities of identity and culture.”

During her time at Bucknell, Sasso won a Projects for Peace grant through a partnership between Davis United World College Scholars Program and Bucknell. Through her project Yehri Wi Cry, which translates to “Hear Our Cry,” Sasso and Sowande Parkinson ’12 delivered maternal kits–containing basic necessities to aid in sanitation and the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS–to Sierra Leone.

The recipient of Bucknell’s Young Alumni Award in 2021, she earned a master of arts degree from Lehigh University in Documentary Film and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Africana Studies with a minor in Film. Sasso was the recipient of the Posse Foundation’s 2013 Ainslie Alumni Achievement Award.

“To be named Bucknell’s Commencement speaker is beyond an honor; it’s a homecoming. These halls taught me community, the arts, the language of business and, most importantly, that life is not about beginnings, but the grit that fuels your finish,” says Sasso. “Bucknell’s lessons haven’t just shaped me; they’ve equipped me. I am excited to celebrate with you and offer what I learned: Adversity refines, not defines.”

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