As spring rolls around, students across the country prepare to celebrate years of studying and hard work on their graduation day. At the same time, some of the country’s most notable speakers are preparing their commencement 2018 speeches to impart final words of wisdom and encourage the graduating class to reach for future success.
This year, speakers include well-respected names from a variety of industries and diverse backgrounds, many of whom are women.
According to the Associated Press, for the first time in the last two decades, the majority of the nation’s top colleges are featuring women as their spring commencement speakers. Industry leaders credit the #MeToo movement and the recent revelations about inequality and sexual harassment from Hollywood to Washington.
Prominent female commencement speakers from the political world include United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley who spoke at Clemson University on May 10th, and activist and Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who addressed Helene Fuld College of Nursing on May 4th.
Nixon urged graduates to enact positive change in their communities after graduation and take inspiration from social justice leaders of today, “especially the strong and resilient women who have been standing up around the country.”
As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ronan Farrow, addressed graduates at Loyola Marymount University, he also encouraged students to stand up for what’s right and to “trust your inner voice” even when it’s frightening, like the sources who came forward and helped him to expose Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment and assault.
Similarly, actor, singer, and songwriter Josh Groban advised new graduates to trust their instincts and embrace fear when going after their future goals. “When it comes to your future experiences, as you enter the world with your knowledge and excitement, as you choose opportunities, always remember: if you aren’t scared, be worried,” he told graduates from High Point University on May 5th.
Other star-studded commencement speakers from the entertainment industry slated to speak include actors, producers, directors, and entertainers like Oprah Winfrey, Benicio del Toro, M. Night Shyamalan, Sterling K Brown, and Chance the Rapper.
Many titans of tech will also address new graduates, among them, CEO of Apple, Tim Cook who will speak at Duke University on May 13th, and COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, who will address MIT graduates on June 8th.
From authors and athletes to politicians and executives, these celebrities and notable speakers will give encouragement and advice to this year’s graduating class, as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.
Additional notable commencement 2018 speakers:
- Creighton University (May 12th): Mae Jemison, Medical Doctor & Former Astronaut
- Rutgers University (May 14th): Queen Latifah, Actress
- Barnard College (May 16th): Abby Wambach, Retired Soccer Player
- Rutgers University (May 17th): Anita Hill– Civil Rights Advocate & Professor
- Liberty University (May 19th): Jimmy Carter– Former President
- Bard College at Simon’s Rock (May 19th): April Ryan, CNN, White House Correspondent
- Mercersburg Academy (May 27th): Benicio del Toro, Actor
- Dartmouth University (June 10th): Mindy Kaling, Actress & Author
- UCLA (June 15th): Mayim Bialik, Actress