The former president — who will be joined by stars such as LeBron James, the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Pharrell Williams, and Megan Rapinoe as well as some high school students — will address the graduating seniors.
“Your graduation ceremony just got bigger,” the organizers of “Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020” announced, with a one-hour event planned to air simultaneously on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC and stream on multiple platforms at 8 p.m. May 16. The event will be hosted by the educational nonprofit XQ Institute, the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
“This high school graduation season will be anything but ordinary — but that’s all the more reason why the Class of 2020 deserves extraordinary advice, heartfelt encouragement, and hard-won wisdom about facing new challenges in an uncertain world,” Russlynn Ali, the chief executive officer and co-founder of the XQ Institute said in a written statement. “We are grateful to President Obama for giving this gift to our nation’s three million high school seniors as they #GraduateTogether.”
Earlier that day, Barack Obama will take part in a two-hour virtual commencement event for graduates of 74 historically black colleges and universities, with multiple sponsors, including the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the National Basketball Association and Howard University.
In June, Barack and Michelle Obama plan to give separate commencement addresses on YouTube as well as a joint message to seniors in a global online celebration that will include celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Kerry Washington, former defense secretary Robert Gates and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist and Nobel laureate.
YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” is scheduled to stream live at 3 p.m. June 6.
The Obamas had received dozens of requests in the past month to speak at virtual events worldwide, according to Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for the former president. Last month, a Los Angeles high school student’s tweet asking the former president to give a national address went viral, with more than 224,000 likes.
The Obamas have spoken at many commencements in person, including at Barnard College, Rutgers University, Howard University, Tuskegee University and Bowie State University.