You’ve worked hard, and it’s time to get your cap and gown and graduate! Your very first graduation gift comes from your college in the form of the commencement speaker. Chosen from the best and the brightest, commencement speakers send you out into the world full of hope and optimism, ready to take charge of your
future. This year, the eight Ivy League colleges are hosting some of the most exciting speakers we’ve seen. Here’s the lineup!
This year’s speaker is none other than civil rights legend and current congressman, John Lewis. Known for being one of the Big Six in the civil rights movement of the 1960s (a group that includes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), he helped organize the massive March on Washington in 1963. He was also awarded an honorary degree from Harvard in 2012. An amazing legacy for a man denied a library card as a boy because of his race!
This year’s commencement speaker for Yale hardly needs an introduction! Hillary Clinton, a graduate of Yale Law School Class of ’73, is probably the world’s most famous woman in public service. With over 40 years of leadership in politics and advocacy for children, Hillary Clinton is, of course, the only woman ever nominated by a major political party to run for President of the United States as well as a former first lady and Senator from New York.
This year’s speaker is the immensely talented Mindy Kaling, Dartmouth class of ’01. Before starring in The Office and The Mindy Show, she wrote plays as a student — even winning the annual Eleanor Frost Playwriting contest in 1999 for a one-act written for the annual Frost and Dodd Student Play Festival! Chances are the audience will be laughing when this comedic wit takes the stage.
University of Pennsylvania
This year’s commencement speaker is Andrea Mitchell, Class of 1967. She’s best known as the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for NBC News and star of Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC. She got her start as a reporter for UPenn‘s college radio station, WXPN. She’s closely affiliated with the university today, as a Penn Trustee Emerita. She also joined the board in 1992 and served as Vice Chair of the board and on its Executive Committee.
Columbia College At Columbia University
If you’re a film lover, you’ll enjoy hearing Dede Gardner speak at commencement at Columbia University‘s commencement for Columbia College. She’s produced movies including Oscar winners 12 Years A Slave, The Big Short, and Moonlight. When it comes to producing movies, she believes in diversity. “It’s about storytelling, and to the extent that the choice of what stories get told lies in the hands of producers,” she said. “Then it is our responsibility to ensure that stories are told that reflect our world and our population and our citizenry.”
This year is the 250th commencement at Brown! This elite school does things differently because instead of a celebrity speaker, a faculty committee selects two senior Brown students to deliver short speeches. There is a main speaker for the Baccalaureate address, though, and this year’s speaker is Beverly E. Ledbetter, Brown’s chief legal officer and a community leader who helped to launch the Black Philanthropy Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation. She’s retiring from Brown this year.
Dr. Martha Pollack, the current President of Cornell, will speak at her second commencement ceremony this year. She’s a computer scientist who specializes in artificial intelligence and was the Provost at the University of Michigan before coming to Cornell. She’s a big believer in college innovation. “We’re preserving the past, we’re analyzing and curating and teaching about existing knowledge;” she said. “But we’re also innovating to create the future through discovery of new knowledge.”
Eduardo Bhatia-Gautier, Princeton Class ‘86 and former President of the Puerto Rico Senate is this year’s Baccalaureate speaker. When announcing the news, the student president Brandon McGhee stated, “Throughout his public life, Mr. Bhatia-Gautier has embodied Princeton’s informal motto ‘Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity’ by working on pertinent health, environmental and economic issues, and advocating for more educational and employment opportunities for youth in Puerto Rico.”
Good luck to the cast of 2018!