NBC10 Anchor Keith Jones, Fashion Designer Iris Barbee Bonner ’07 to Address Graduating Classes at Arcadia University Commencement

By Emily Horowitz | April 30, 2024

Famed Educator Jane Elliott to receive honorary degree

Arcadia University is proud to announce that NBC10 morning anchor Keith Jones and Iris Barbee Bonner ’07, a Philadelphia-based fashion designer and Arcadia alumna, will address the Class of 2024 at its undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17. The University also will award an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to renowned educator and civil rights activist Jane Elliott, who will deliver remarks via video address to the master’s and doctoral candidates at the graduate ceremony on Thursday, May 16, and to baccalaureate degree candidates at Friday’s ceremony. 

Jane Elliott

Jane Elliott '24H

Jane Elliott is a nationally renowned educator, anti-racist, and civil rights activist who has played a crucial role in building the foundation for diversity and inclusivity in education. Upon earning her teaching certificate from the University of Northern Iowa, formerly Iowa State Teachers College, in 1953 Elliott began her teaching career. It was in 1968, following the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that Elliott originated her famous “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” exercise. Struggling to explain the senseless murder and racism as a whole to her class of white third graders, she simulated discrimination by separating them by their eye color and declaring one eye color as inferior to the others. The goal of this exercise was to force students to experience prejudices they wouldn’t otherwise face to grow their empathy for those who do.

As word of Elliott’s “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” spread, she gained national attention, becoming the subject of the 1970 ABC documentary, “The Eye of the Storm,” and two books, which were turned into the 1985 PBS Frontline documentary, “A Class Divided.”

Elliott retired from teaching in 1984 to deliver diversity sensitivity workshops and training around the world. In 2016, she published “A Collar In My Pocket: The Blue Eyes Brown Eyes Exercise.” She also received the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education and has been listed alongside Plato, Booker T. Washington, and others in timelines of 30 notable educators published by McGraw-Hill.

Elliott is a widow, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who resides exclusively in Iowa and California. She continues to fight for our collective future and remains active in the discourse of anti-racist education.

Keith Jones

Keith Jones of NBC10

Keith Jones is a 15-time Emmy winning weekday morning anchor of NBC10 News Today in Philadelphia. He also co-hosts an exclusive daily streaming show and podcast called The Lineup, which can be streamed on the NBC10 app on Apple TV and Roku. Jones also serves as an adjunct professor of Broadcast Journalism in the Communication Department at his alma mater, Villanova University, which honored him with the Young Alumni Medal in 2018. Throughout his career, Jones has earned 15 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Anchor in 2021, and five Edward R. Murrow Awards. An active member of his community, he serves on the boards of nonprofits Main Line Deputy Dog, the Philadelphia Fireman’s Hall Museum, and Turning Points for Children. Previously, Jones worked as an anchor and reporter at ABC affiliates WTAE in Pittsburgh, Pa., and WHSV in Harrisonburg, Va. 

Iris Barbee Bonner ’07

Iris Barbee Bonner '07

Iris Barbee Bonner is a creative thinker, artist, and fashion designer who resides in Philadelphia. As a soft-spoken and shy child, she began to express herself through art at just five years old. Bonner attended Arcadia University and earned a BFA in Graphic Design. In 2012, she debuted her wearable art brand, These Pink Lips. Her designs feature colorful, attention-grabbing graphics and images that push female empowerment. They are on display in notable art galleries and boutiques and have appeared in such publications as Glamour and Complex. 

As the designer behind These Pink Lips–a brand that fuses vibrancy, sexuality, and rebellious pop culture–Bonner uses paint techniques to produce ready-to-wear fashion, including her coveted Barbeebootz and “Goal Digger” accessories, to help shed stereotypes and harness the power of feminism. Among the celebrities that Bonner has styled are musical artists Cardi B, Mary J. Blige, and Salt-n-Pepa, as well as actors Billy Porter and MJ Rodriguez, and many others.

For more information on Arcadia’s Commencement ceremonies, visit arcadia.edu/commencement.