Obama, Oprah, Colbert, Ripken etc: The 2013 commencement speakers

Who is speaking where at 2013 commencement ceremonies? Here’s some of the big names and the places they will appear:

* President Obama is speaking at three graduations: the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Ohio State University and Morehouse College, the White House announced this week.

* The University of Virginia has Steven Colbert speaking at the May 18 graduation ceremonies in Charlottesville. (The timing is serendipitous, because what with the growing tension between the governing board rector, Helen Dragas, and President Teresa Sullivan, the school needs a laugh.) Colbert’s wife, Evelyn McGee Colbert, graduated from U.Va. in 1985 with a drama and English double major. Colbert’s 2006 commencement speech at Knox College was hysterical:

….When you enter the workforce, you will find competition from those crossing our all-too-porous borders. Now I know you’re all going to say, ’Stephen, Stephen, immigrants built America.’ Yes, but here’s the thing — it’s built now. I think it was finished in the mid-70s sometime. At this point it’s a touch-up and repair job…

 

* The University of Maryland at College Park will hear from baseball great Cal Ripken, Jr., on May 19th. Why? Why not? He was born and raised in Maryland and famously played for the Baltimore Orioles.

* Vanderbilt University has author Toni Morrison speaking at Senior Day on May 9. (Note for those attending: Memorial Gym is not air conditioned. Wear comfortable clothes. Or you can watch it livestreamed here at 10 a.m. Central Time.)

 

Oprah Winfrey (George Burns/OWN - AP)
Oprah Winfrey (George Burns/OWN – AP)

* Harvard University announced that Oprah Winfrey will speak on May 30 during commencement day’s Afternoon Exercises, at which the Harvard Alumni Association traditionally holds its annual meeting. Why? Harvard President told the Harvard Gazette she is a wonderful, philanthropic person.

* Tulane University nabbed the Dalai Lama, who will speak on May 18 at the school, where he will be attending a conference at the School of Social Work entitled “Resilience: Strength Through Compassion and Connection.”  (Originally each student was only going to be allowed to bring six guests but the school now says each graduate can bring 15 family and friends.)

* Mikhail Baryshnikov is speaking at Northwestern University on June 21. Turns out his daughter, Anna, is a junior in the School of Communication. (Apropos of nothing, her mother is actress Jessica Lange.)

* Julie Andrews is speaking at the University of Colorado at Boulder on May 10th. (The bio on the school’s website gives no hint of any connection to the university, but so what?)

* Wesleyan University will hear from Josh Whedon, film and television director, writer and producer, at May 26 ceremonies. “The Avengers” director and creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” graduated from the school in 1987.

* MIT graduates will hear Drew W. Houston, cofounder and CEO of Dropbox, the online file storage service, on June 7. He graduated from the school in 2005.

See even more commencement speakers below:

 

 

 

 

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | March 7, 2013