Nadia Sasso, wearing a bright green jumpsuit, poses in front of a bookcase with different shades of green books.

Nadia Sasso '11 Is Bucknell's 2024 Commencement Speaker

February 1, 2024

by Mike Ferlazzo

Nadia Sasso '11 will deliver the keynote address at Bucknell's 2024 Commencement. Photo courtesy of Nadia Sasso '11

Nadia Sasso '11 — a creative producer and digital storyteller whose work has been recognized by former President Barack Obama and former network news anchor Katie Couric, among others — will deliver the keynote address at Bucknell University's 174th Commencement on Sunday, May 12, 2024.

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

She is also advancing 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.

"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."

Her Celebrated Creative Debut
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, 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 cover story of the Fall 2019 issue of Bucknell Magazine.

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. At Bucknell, she was awarded a Project for Peace grant, which supports projects that contribute to resolving conflict and maintaining peace. The recipient of Bucknell's Young Alumni Award in 2021, she earned a master of arts degree from Lehigh University and a doctorate from Cornell University. 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."

Commencement 2024
Bucknell's 174th Commencement, celebrating the Class of 2024, is scheduled for Sunday, May 12, at 10 a.m. on Malesardi Quadrangle.

Sasso is the latest accomplished Bucknell alumnus to address University graduates. She follows Class of 2023 speaker Jay Wright '83, CBS Sports college basketball analyst and former national championship Villanova University men's basketball head coach; Class of 2022 speaker Daisy Auger-Domínguez '95, the former chief people officer at Vice Media Group; and Class of 2021 speaker Audra Wilson '94, president and CEO of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. Carolyn Speer Miles '83, P'14, former president and chief executive officer of Save the Children, was the Class of 2020 speaker, delivering the address for Bucknell's only virtual Commencement.