Here Are This Year’s College Commencement Speakers

The lineup for spring 2023 commencement speakers includes Nobel Prize winners, politicians, activists, academics, authors, actors, musicians, motivational speakers, and business leaders.
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Mark J. Drozdowski, Ed.D.
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Mark J. Drozdowski, Ed.D., is a senior writer with BestColleges. He has 30 years of experience in higher education as a university administrator and faculty member and teaches writing at Johns Hopkins University. A former columnist for The Chronicle ...
Updated on May 15, 2023
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Darlene Earnest is a copy editor for BestColleges. She has had an extensive editing career at several news organizations, including The Virginian-Pilot and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She also has completed programs for editors offered by the D...
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Colleges and universities have begun naming their commencement speakers for 2023. Here's a running list of announcements, including ceremony dates.

Stay tuned for continual updates throughout the spring.

Table of Contents


Anna Maria College — May 15

Peter Caparso, a business executive and investor

Auburn University — May 5-6

Rowdy Gaines, an Auburn alum, Olympic gold medalist, and sports broadcaster; and Paula Marino, an Auburn alum and senior vice president of Southern Company

Babson College — May 13

Tim Ryan, a Babson alum and U.S. chair and senior partner at PwC, undergraduate ceremony; Dr. Reshma Kewalramani, CEO and president at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, graduate ceremony

Bard College — May 27

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.)

Barnard College — May 17

Lena Waithe, an Emmy Award-winning writer, creator, producer, actor, and founder of Hillman Grad

Bates College — May 28

J. Drew Lanham, the MacArthur Fellow, author, and professor at Clemson University

Benedictine College — May 13

Leonard Leo, the chairman of CRC Advisors and co-chairman of the Federalist Society

Bentley University — May 19-20

Charlie Baker, president of the NCAA and former Massachusetts Governor, undergraduate ceremony; Steve Kaufer, co-founder and former CEO of Tripadvisor, graduate ceremony

Bethune-Cookman University — May 13

Carla Harris, a senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley

Boston College — May 22

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States

Brandeis University — May 21

Drew Weissman, a Brandeis alum and physician and researcher, undergraduate ceremony; Annette Gordon-Reed, the Pulitzer-prize-winning author and professor at Harvard University, graduate ceremony

Bryn Mawr College — May 12-13

Marie A. Bernard, a Bryn Mawr alum and National Institute of Health's chief officer for scientific workforce diversity, undergraduate ceremony; Anne Thompson, a Bryn Mawr alum and senior scientist emerita at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, graduate ceremony

Bucknell University — May 14

Jay Wright, a Bucknell alum, CBS Sports college basketball analyst, and former Villanova University men's basketball coach

California Institute of Technology — June 16

Danielle Allen, the author, MacArthur Fellow, and professor at Harvard University

Carleton College — June 10

Jonathan Capehart, a Carleton alum and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Carnegie Mellon University — May 14

Patrick Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel

Case Western Reserve University — May 17

Michael Osterholm, the infectious disease researcher and author

The Catholic University of America — May 13

Arthur C. Brooks, the author and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School

Cazenovia College — May 13

John Robert Greene, a professor emeritus at the college

Centre College — May 21

Nhi Aronheim, a Centre alum, a Vietnamese refugee, and a businesswoman and author

Chapman University — May 19

Angela Bassett, the award-winning actress, director and executive producer

Claremont McKenna College — May 13

Robert Putnam, the author and former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Clark University — May 21

Robert Putnam, the author and former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Colgate University — May 21

College of the Holy Cross — May 26

Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT), a Holy Cross alum

Wynton Marsalis, the managing and artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center, director of jazz studies at The Juilliard School, and president of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation

College of William & Mary — May 19

Patton Oswalt, a William & Mary alum and comedian and actor

The College of Wooster — May 13

Kurt Russell, a College of Wooster alum and National Teacher of the Year

Colorado College — May 28

Liz Cheney, a Colorado College alum and former U.S. representative

Connecticut College — May 21

Sally Susman, a Connecticut College alum and executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at Pfizer

Cornell University — May 25

Ken Jeong, the physician, actor, and comedian, will speak at senior convocation

Dartmouth College — June 11

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Dartmouth alums and Academy Award-winning filmmakers

Denison University — May 13

Mark Malloch-Brown, the president of Open Society Foundations and former deputy secretary general of the United Nations

Duke University — May 14

Adam Silver, a Duke alum and commissioner of the National Basketball Association

D'Youville University — May 13

Beth Macy, the journalist, author, and Hulu executive producer

East Carolina University — May 5

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president emeritus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Eckerd College — May 21

LaRuby May, an Eckerd alum and lawyer, entrepreneur, and teacher

Elon University — May 19

Ashton Newhall, an Elon alum and partner of the StepStone group, a global private market firm

Emerson College — May 14

Pamela Abdy, an Emerson alum and group co-chair and CEO, Warner Bros. Pictures

Emory University — May 8

Anthony Ray Hinton, the activist, writer, and justice advocate

Endicott College — May 20

Kenneth Cole, the activist and global fashion designer

Fairleigh Dickinson University — May 17

Sarita Brown and Deborah Santiago, the co-founders of Excelencia in Education

Fisk University — May 1

Grant Hill, the former NBA star, author, and television broadcaster

George Mason University — May 18

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin

George Washington University — May 21

Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Goucher College — May 15

Anna Deavere Smith, the playwright, actor, and educator

Grinell College — May 22

Ham Serunjogi, a Grinnell alum and co-founder and CEO of Chipper Cash


Hamilton College — May 21

Michelle J. Howard, a retired Navy admiral and the first woman to become a four-star admiral

Harvard University — May 25

Tom Hanks, the Oscar-winning actor, writer, and filmmaker

High Point University — May 6

Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, the philanthropist, entrepreneur, and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland

Howard University — May 13

President Joe Biden

Ithaca College — May 22

Sheila Katz, an Ithaca alum and chief executive officer of the National Council of Jewish Women

Kenyon College — May 20

Colette Pichon Battle, a Kenyon alum and climate activist and lawyer

Lake Forest College — May 13

Julianne Sitch, the first woman in NCAA history to lead a men's team to a national championship

Le Moyne College — May 21

Stephen Kuusisto, the author, professor, and disability rights activist

Lesley University — May 20

Erik Weihenmayer, a Lesley alum and blind adventurer and motivational speaker

Longwood University — May 19-20

John Feinstein, a Washington Post columnist, undergraduate ceremony; Kirk Cox, an educator and Republican legislator in the Virginia General Assembly, graduate ceremony

Loyola Marymount University — May 5-7

Martin Sheen, the actor and social justice activist, undergraduate ceremony; Ginni Rometty, the former chairman, president, and CEO of IBM, graduate ceremony

Loyola University Maryland — May 20

Chris Lowney, the author and business leader

Luther College — May 21

Sharran Srivatsaa, a Luther College alum and president of Real, the fastest-growing publicly traded real estate brokerage in the world

Lynn University — May 4

Joel Podolny, the founding dean of Apple University

Macalester College — May 13

Faith Abiodun, the executive director of United World Colleges International

Marist College — May 19-20

Jeff Kinney, the author and cartoonist, undergraduate ceremony; Jerome Pickett, a Marist alum, former special agent with the U.S. Secret Service, and executive vice president and chief security officer for the National Basketball Association, adult undergraduate and graduate student ceremony

Marquette University — May 20

Marlee Matlin, the Academy Award-winning actress, undergraduate ceremony; John Gurda, an author, graduate ceremony

Marshall University — April 29

John Donahoe, the president and CEO of Nike

Massachusetts Institute of Technology — June 1

Mark Rober, the YouTuber, engineer, and inventor

McDaniel College — May 20

Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, undergraduate ceremony; Sharon Love, a McDaniel alum and founder of the One Love Foundation

Middlebury College — May 20

Uki Maroshek-Klarman, the executive director of the Adam Institute of Democracy and Peace in Israel

Mississippi College — May 4

Cyrus Ben, the tribal chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Morehouse College — May 21

Wes Moore, the first Black governor of Maryland

Mount Holyoke College — May 21

Lan Cao, a Mount Holyoke alum, author, and professor; Imani Perry, an author and scholar; and Nancy Welker, a Mount Holyoke alum and physicist


New College of Florida — May 19

Scott W. Atlas, the Robert Wesson Senior Fellow in health policy at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University and co‐founder & co‐director of the Global Liberty Institute

New England College — May 6

Ron Chernow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author

New York University — May 17

Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland

North Carolina State University — May 6

Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, an NC State alum and commander at United States Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base

Northeastern University — May 7

Mariam Naficy, the founder and chairman of Minted

Northwestern University — June 12

JB Pritzker, the governor of Illinois

Occidental College — May 21

Isabel Wilkerson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Oglethorpe College — May 20

Andrea Rivera, the founder of H3 Media and chair of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Olin College of Engineering — May 14

Shirley Malcom, the senior advisor and director of the SEA Change initiative at the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Oklahoma State University — May 13

Denny Kellington, an Oklahoma State alum and assistant athletic trainer for the Buffalo Bills

Oral Roberts University — May 6

Kevin Stitt, the governor of Oklahoma

Oregon State University — June 17

Dr. Charity Dean, an Oregon State alum, internal medicine specialist, and CEO of The Public Health Company

Pitzer College — May 13

Nadia Murad, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient and founder and president of Nadia's Initiative, a nonprofit advocating for survivors of sexual violence

Pomona College — May 12

Sherrilyn Ifill, a civil rights lawyer, and Penny Lee Dean, a Pomona alum and Hall of Fame swimmer

Princeton University — May 29

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), a Princeton alum, will speak at class day

Reed College — May 15

Kraig Kraft, a Reed alum and Asia & Africa director at World Coffee Research

Regent University — May 6

Nikki R. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and former ambassador to the United Nations

Rice University — May 6

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary and assistant to the president

Roosevelt University — May 5

Danny DeVito, the actor and producer

Rutgers University — May 14

Sheryl Lee Ralph, a Rutgers alum and actor and author

Saint Michael's College — May 14

Jay Bellissimo, a Saint Michael's alum and chief operating officer at Vonage

St. Norbert College — May 14

Mark Murphy, the Green Bay Packers president and CEO

Sarah Lawrence College — May 12

Bill Lawrence, the television producer, director, and writer

Scripps College — May 13

Kelly McCreary, an actress and voting rights advocate

Seattle University — June 12

Doug Baldwin, the former professional football player and founder and CEO of Vault 89 Ventures, undergraduate ceremony; Viet Thanh Nguyen, the author and professor of English, American studies and ethnicity, and comparative literature at the University of Southern California, graduate ceremony

Skidmore College — May 20

Mary Schmidt Campbell, an author and art historian, and Frederick M. Lawrence, scholar and civil rights attorney

Smith College — May 21

Reshma Saujani, an activist and founder of Girls Who Code and Moms First

Southwestern University — May 13

Trent Harmon, the "American Idol" winner

Spelman College — May 21

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and Howard University professor

Stanford University — June 18

John McEnroe, the tennis legend and television personality

Stonehill College — May 21

John Della Volpe, the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics

Susquehanna University — May 20

Catherine Pierce, the poet laureate of Mississippi and professor of English and co-director of the creative writing program at Mississippi State University

Sweet Briar College — May 13

Verda M. Colvin, a Sweet Briar alum and a justice of the Georgia Supreme Court

Syracuse University — May 14

Donna E. Shalala, a Syracuse alum, former U.S. secretary of health and human services, and professor at the University of Miami


Tennessee State University — May 5-6

Oprah Winfrey, a Tennessee State alum and philanthropist, producer, actress and author, undergraduate ceremony; Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), graduate ceremony

Trinity College — May 21

Nicole Hockley, a Trinity alum and co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation

Tufts University — May 21

Amina J. Mohammed, the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations

Tulane University — May 20

Leslie Odom Jr., the award-winning actor

Union College — June 11

Stanley Andrisse, an endocrinologist and professor at the Howard University College of Medicine

United States Air Force Academy — June 1

President Joe Biden

United States Military Academy — May 27

Vice President Kamala Harris

University of California, Los Angeles — June 16

Randall Park, a UCLA alum and actor, comedian, and writer

University of Chicago — June 3

Tom Ginsburg, a legal scholar and professor at the university

University of Colorado — May 11

Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado

University of Delaware — May 27

Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space

University of the District of Columbia — May 13

Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL)

University of Florida — May 5

Erin Jackson, a University of Florida alum and a U.S. Olympic gold medalist speedskater

University of Georgia — May 11-12

Leah Brown, a University of Georgia alum, orthopedic surgeon, and national gymnastics champion, undergraduate ceremony; Charles S. Bullock, university professor of public and international affairs, graduate ceremony

University of Hartford — May 14

Nicole Hughey, a Hartford alum and senior vice president and head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at SiriusXM, undergraduate ceremony; Greg Barats, the CEO and president of HSB Group, graduate ceremony

University of Illinois — May 13

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the six-time Olympic medalist

University of Maine — May 5-6

Anne Hall, a Maine alum and retired U.S. ambassador, undergraduate ceremonies; Suzanne Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, graduate ceremony

University of Maryland — May 22

Gayle King, a Maryland alum and broadcast journalist

University of Massachusetts — May 26

Briana Scurry, a UMass alum and hall of fame soccer goalkeeper

University of Michigan — April 29

Wynton Marsalis, the managing and artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center, director of jazz studies at The Juilliard School, and president of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation

University of Mount Olive — May 6

Tim Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner, author, motivational speaker, and college football analyst for ESPN

University of North Carolina — May 14

Bryan Stevenson, the public interest lawyer and author

University of Notre Dame — May 21

Juan Manuel Santos, the former Colombian president and Nobel Peace Prize winner

University of Oklahoma — May 12

Randall L. Stephenson, the former chairman and CEO of AT&T

University of Pennsylvania — May 15

Idina Menzel, an award-winning singer, actress, and songwriter

University of Richmond — May 7

Greg Morrisett, a Richmond alum and dean and vice provost of Cornell Tech

University of Rochester — May 12

Josh Shapiro, a Rochester alum and governor of Pennsylvania

University of Scranton — May 21

James M. Murray II, a Scranton alum, chief security officer for Snap, Inc., and former director of the United States Secret Service

University of Southern California — May 12

Kevin Feige, a producer and president of Marvel Studios

University of Texas at Austin — May 6

Hayes Barnard, the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of GoodLeap

University of Utah — May 4

Tim Shriver, the Special Olympics international chair and Dignity Index co-creator

University of Vermont — May 21

Sethuraman Panchanathan, the director of the U.S. National Science Foundation

University of Washington — June 10

Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education

University of Wisconsin-Madison — May 13

Eric H. Holder Jr., the former U.S. Attorney General

Vanderbilt University — May 11

Maria A. Ressa, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

Villanova University — May 19

Lester Holt, the NBC News anchor

Virginia Tech — May 12

Jean Case, chair of the National Geographic Society and CEO of the Case Foundation

Wake Forest University — May 15

K. Killian Noe, a Wake Forest alum and author, pastor, and founder of Recovery Café and the Recovery Café Network

Washington College — May 21

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

Washington University in St. Louis — May 15

Sterling K. Brown, the award-winning actor and producer

Wellesley College — May 20

Jocelyn Benson, a Wellesley alum and Michigan’s secretary of state

Wesleyan University — May 28

Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of history at Harvard University

Wheaton College — May 6-7

Marlene Wall, the president of LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Williams College — June 4

Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund

Wittenberg University — May 13

Albert Bryan Jr., a Wittenberg alum and governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Worcester Polytechnic Institute — May 11 & 13

Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), undergraduate ceremony; Catherine Ball, the futurist and author, graduate ceremony

Worcester State University — May 13

Kristen Lee, a Worcester State alum, author, and professor at Northeastern University

Yale University — May 21

Elizabeth Alexander, a Yale alum, educator, author, and president of the Mellon Foundation, will speak at class day