2013 Commencement Speakers Range from Politicians to Hollywood Stars

Notable speakers include President Obama, Joss Whedon, Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama

By Erin Palmer
Posted May 07, 2013 03:00 PM

2013 Commencement Speakers
2013 Commencement Speakers

Colleges across the country are getting ready to celebrate and inspire their graduates with commencement speeches from politicians, celebrities and industry thought-leaders.

Notable choices for the 2013 graduation ceremonies include the Dalai Lama for Tulane University, Oprah Winfrey for Harvard University and President Barack Obama for the U.S. Naval Academy, Morehouse College and Ohio State University.

The president’s speech at Ohio State’s ceremony on May 5 focused on participation and perseverance.

“Whenever you feel that creeping cynicism; whenever you hear those voices say you can’t make that difference; whenever somebody tells you to set your sights lower – the trajectory of America should give you hope,” he said. “I dare you to do better. I dare you to be better.”

President Obama isn’t the only politician addressing the class of 2013. Vice President Joe Biden is giving the commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania. Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., will address several schools including Yale University and Cornell University, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City will speak to graduates from Stanford University.

Arts and entertainment industries will also be well-represented in commencement ceremonies this year. Author Toni Morrison will speak at Vanderbilt University, ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov at Northwestern University and David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, will speak to Princeton University graduates.

The class of 2013 from the University of Virginia is in store for some laughs during the commencement speech from comedian Stephen Colbert. Other celebrities scheduled to give commencement speeches this year include Joss Whedon, writer and director of “The Avengers,” at Wesleyan University and actress Julie Andrews at the University of Colorado.

Business leaders were also a popular choice among the 2013 commencement speakers. Cofounder and CEO of Dropbox, Drew W. Houston, will speak at his alma mater, MIT. Likewise, CEO of Avon Products, Sherilyn McCoy, will speak to graduates from her alma mater at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Dominican University hosted Christopher Kennedy, the chairman of the Kennedy family’s investment firm, Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, for their May 4 graduation ceremony.


We recommend