10 Interesting College Commencement Speakers

Lori Johnston | May 31, 2013

IGrads hear from President Obama, Oprah, the Dalai Lama, and more during commencement. t’s a great year to be a grad. At commencement ceremonies across the country, celebrating graduates will sit back and hear from some of our country’s most powerful — and popular — people.

From President Obama to the founder of Twitter (read more on our MyEducation blog) to actresses, actors, authors, and athletes, the star-studded lineup of speakers commencement a hot ticket for some folks. Some schools are providing live streams of the speeches, too.

Some commencement speeches (such as the late Steve Jobs’ 2005 speech at Stanford) are so insightful and poignant that they continue to inspire people for years after graduation. At some schools the speakers have a connection, such as “Avengers” director Josh Whedon, who is speaking at his alma mater, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

Also, U.S. News & World Report has a cool interactive map where you can see who is speaking where and when.

Whose comments will stand out this year? We think it will be one — or more — of these folks speaking at commencement ceremonies around the country happening in May and June:

1. President Obama: Morehouse College (Atlanta), Ohio State University, U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis)

Obama told the Ohio State grads earlier this month: “As citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us,” he said. “It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And, Class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.” You can watch the video of his speech.

2. Steven Colbert: University of Virginia (Colbert’s wife, Evelyn McGee Colbert, graduated from the school)

3. Oprah Winfrey: Harvard University

4. Dalai Lama: Tulane University (New Orleans)

5. Josh Whedon: Wesleyan University

6. Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mart Kelly, retired Space Shuttle commander: Bard College (Annandale-On-Hudson, N.Y.)

7. Howard Gordon, Writer, co-creator of TV Series “Homeland”: Connecticut College (New London, Conn.)

8. Julie Andrews: University of Colorado at Boulder

9. Mikhail Baryshnikov: Northwestern University

10. Ed Helms of “The Hangover 3” and “The Office”: Knox College (Galesburg, Ill.)

Many of these folks are iconic figures to today’s graduates, whether they’re impacting the world or just making us laugh. As Knox College President Teresa Amott says in a press release: “I thank the senior class for choosing a speaker who has made such a distinctive contribution to our popular culture.”

Which commencement speaker would you like to hear? See who else is speaking at 2013 commencements on our MyEducation.com blog, too!

 

 

 

 

2 responses to “10 Interesting College Commencement Speakers”

  1. Helen says:

    “As citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us,” he said. “It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And, Class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.” — Totally agree.

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