Rounding Out 2015 Commencements: Authors, Entertainers, Pols Among Recently Announced Speakers

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Anyone who thinks higher education’s vitality can be reduced to numbers of degrees granted  and college rankings, needs to see the diversity and depth of New England’s commencement speakers. Not just the fuss of pomp and circumstance but perhaps the finest lecture series the world has to offer.

To wit, here are the most recently announced 2015 speakers (followed by links to previous installments of this year’s announcements) …

David Muir, Emmy-​​winning anchor of ABC World News Tonight, will deliver North­eastern University’s 113th com­mence­ment address on Friday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. at TD Garden. Wayne Clough, sec­re­tary emer­itus of the Smith­sonian Insti­tu­tion and pres­i­dent emer­itus of the Georgia Insti­tute of Tech­nology, will keynote North­eastern’s graduate ceremony at 3:30 p.m. at Matthews Arena. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey will deliver the com­mence­ment address at the law school on Friday, May 22 at Matthews Arena.

Aetna President Karen S. Rohan will keynote Becker College’s 227th commencement on Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Former Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Tim Donovan will keynote Castleton State College’s 228th commencement on Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m. in the Castleton Pavilion.

Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley will deliver Emmanuel College’s 93rd commencement address on Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m. under the tent on the college campus.

Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-KS), who was also U.S. secretary of transportation and president of the America Red Cross, will deliver Norwich University’s commencement address on Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at Shapiro Field House.

Moustafa M. Bayoumi, a professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, will address Southern Vermont College’s 88th commencement on Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m, at the Everett Mansion.

Jennifer Henley, director of security operations at Facebook, will keynote Bay Path University’s 118th commencement to be held Saturday, May 9 at 3 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

Former U.S. Sen. William “Mo” Cowan (D-Mass.) will deliver Newbury College’s commencement address on Sunday, May 10 at 11 a.m. on the main campus in Brookline, Mass.

Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory will keynote Mount Ida College’s 116th commencement on May 11, at 11 a.m. on the Newton campus.

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell will keynote the MGH Institute of Health Professions commencement on Monday, May 11 at 2 p.m. at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston.

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will keynote Eastern Connecticut State University’s commencement exercises on Tuesday, May 12 at 6 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford. She will also address Wellesley College’s 137th commencement exercises on Friday, May 29 at 10:30 a.m.

Actor, director and education entrepreneur LeVar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte in the groundbreaking TV miniseries “Roots,” will address UMass Lowell’s two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16 at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Tsongas Center in Lowell.

Lesley University will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16 at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston, At the morning ceremony, University of Michigan School of Education dean Deborah Loewenberg Ball will speak to the Graduate School of Education, and civil-rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will speak to Lesley’s Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences. At the afternoon ceremony, Pedro Noguera, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, will speak to Lesley’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express and Jumanji will address the university’s College of Art and Design.

Major General Robert Catalanotti (Ret.), an Iraq War commander, will address Assumption College’s 98th commencement on Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. on Assumption’s H.L. Rocheleau Field.

United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott A. Blackmun will deliver the commencement address at Bentley University’s 96th annual undergraduate ceremony held on Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. on the south campus. BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. CEO Laura Sen will keynote the Bentley’s Graduate School of Business’s 40th annual commencement ceremony at 3 p.m.

Maria Cattaui, former secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, will keynote the University of Hartford’s graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. on the lawn outside the Gengras Student Union building. Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, will keynote the university undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17, also at 10 a.m. on the lawn outside Gengras. 

Ann Hope, public health specialist in the areas of alcohol and tobacco in Ireland, will address Springfield College’s graduate ceremony on Saturday, May 16 at 9:30 a.m. on the college’s Naismith Green. Andrew Seligsohn will address Springfield College’s undergraduate ceremony on Sunday, May 17 at 9:30 a.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. 

Former Boston Bruins captain Raymond J. Bourque will keynote the Endicott College commencement on Saturday, May 16 at 10:30 a.m.

Poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor, founder and radical executive officer of The Body is Not An Apology, will address Hampshire College graduates on Saturday, May 16 at 11 a.m. on the Harold F. Johnson Library Lawn.

Matthew Slater, special teams captain of the NFL champion New England Patriots, will keynote Fisher College’s commencement on Saturday, May 16 at 11 a.m. at the John Hancock Hall-Back Bay Events Center in Boston

U.S. figure skater Michelle Kwan will address Salve Regina’s 65th Commencement on Sunday, May 17.

Fairfield University will hold its undergraduates commencement exercises on Sunday, May 17 at 9:30 a.m., featuring an address by Jesuit priest and author James Martin, and its graduate ceremony at 3 p.m., featuring Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, both on Bellarmine Lawn.

Jordan Kassalow, founder and co-chair of VisionSpring, will address graduates of the New England College of Optometry on Sunday, May 17 at 10 a.m. at John Hancock Hall-Back Bay Events Center in Boston.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will address Marlboro College’s 68th graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 17 at 10:30 a.m. in Person’s Auditorium.

Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney who guided the One Fund after the Marathon bombings and the compensation fund for September 11th families, will keynote Stonehill College’s commencement on Sunday, May 17 at 10 a.m., on the quadrangle lawn.

Thomas Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and other posts, will address Brandeis University ‘s commencement on Sunday, May 17 at 10:30 a.m. in Gosman Sports and Convocation Center.

Chicago Archbishop Blase Joseph Cupich will address Boston College’s 139th annual commencement on May 18 at 10 a.m. in Alumni Stadium.

Robin Roberts, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, will keynote Emerson College’s 135th undergraduate commencement ceremony on Monday, May 18 at 10 a.m. at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Megan Marshall will present Emerson’s graduate address at 3 p.m.

Kevin Berg, executive vice president of production for CBS Network Entertainment Group, will keynote Mount Wachusett Community College’s commencement on Wednesday, May 20 at 6 p.m. in the Fitness & Wellness Center.

Gianfranco Zaccai, the president and chief design officer at Continuum LLC, who designed such items as the Reebok “Pump” and Procter & Gamble’s breakthrough Swiffer, will address Boston Architectural College’s commencement on May 22 at 1 p.m. at Old South Church.

Humorist and journalist Henry Alford will address graduates at Bard College at Simon’s Rock’s commencement on Monday, May 25 at 11 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will keynote Bunker Hill Community College’s 41st commencement on Saturday, May 30 at 11 a.m.

Andrea Jung, president and CEO of Grameen America and former CEO of Avon, will address graduates of  Cambridge College on Sunday, June 7 at Blue Hills Pavilion in Boston.

Political commentator and author David Brooks will deliver the main address at Dartmouth College’s 2015 commencement on Sunday, June 14 at 9:30 a.m. on the Green.




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