Commencement Speakers Since 1938

Speeches

(For transcripts of recent commencement addresses, follow this link to the Almanac website and search "Commencement" and the year of the address you are interested in.)

List of Speakers

(This list includes speakers at special mid-year Convocations through 1953.)

2014

John Legend, C'99
Grammy-award winning songwriter and musician

2013

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
47th Vice President of the United States

2012

Geoffrey Canada
President and Chief Executive Officer
Educational Innovator and Advocate

2011

Denzel Washington
Academy Award Winning & Tony Award Winning Actor
Director

2010

Jon Huntsman, C'87
U.S. Ambassador to China

2009

Eric E. Schmidt
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer,
Google, Inc.

2008

Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor, City of New York

2007

James A. Baker, III
61st U.S. Secretary of State

2006

Jodie Foster
Actress, Producer and Director

2005

Kofi Annan
Secretary-General, United Nations
with the United Nations,
recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize

2004

Bono
Co-Founder, DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa)
Lead singer, U2

2003

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Chancellor, University of the Western Cape
1984 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

2002

Jim Lehrer
Executive Editor and Anchor, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

2001

John McCain
United States Senator, Arizona

2000

Seamus Heaney
Poet, Critic, and Translator
1995 Nobel Laureate in Literature

1999

Robert E. Rubin
Secretary of the Treasury

1998

Jimmy Carter
Thirty-Ninth President of the United States

1997

William H. Cosby
Entertainer and Educator

1996

Tom Brokaw
Television Journalist

1995

Jane Alexander
Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

1994

Henry G. Cisneros
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

1993

Hillary Rodham Clinton
First Lady of the United States

1992

Ismael Mahomed
Justice, Supreme Court of South Africa

1991

Ted Koppel
Television Journalist

1990

Barbara Bush
First Lady of the United States

1989

Mike Wallace
Television Journalist

1988

Patricia Schroeder
Congresswoman

1987

Riccardo Muti
Conductor, Philadelphia Orchestra

1986

Michael Brown
Nobel Laureate in Medicine

1985

Donald Regan
Secretary of the Treasury

1984

Wilson Goode
Mayor of Philadelphia

1983

Ellen Goodman
Syndicated columnist

1982

Sol Linowitz
Former Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Former Chairman of Xerox

1981

Vernon Jordan
President, National Urban League

1980

The Lord Annan,
OBE Vice Chancellor, University of London

1979

Garry Trudeau
Doonesbury creator

1978

Patricia Harris
Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development

1977

Hubert H. Humphrey
United States Senator

1976

Warren E. Burger
Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

1975

Gerald R. Ford
President of the United States

1974

Milton J. Shapp
Governor of Pennsylvania

1973

The Rt. Hon. Roy Jenkins, M.P.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Former Deputy Leader of the British Labour Party

1972

John H. Knowles
President-Elect, Rockefeller Foundation

1971

David Riesman
Henry Ford Professor of Social Sciences, Harvard University

1970

Martin Meyerson
University of Pennsylvania President-Designate

1969

Lady Barbara Ward Jackson
Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

1968

William S. Paley
Chairman of the Board, Columbia Broadcasting System

1967

Raymond P. Shafer
Governor of Pennsylvania

1966

Robert C. Weaver
Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development

1965

Sir John Bruce
Professor of Clinical Surgery, University of Edinburgh

1964

William W. Scranton
Governor of Pennsylvania

1963

Francis Keppel
United States Commissioner of Education

1962

Clarence D. Dillon
Secretary of the Treasury

1961

Crawford H. Greenawalt
President, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.

1960

The Hon. John Jay McCloy
President, World Bank; U.S. Military Governor and High Commissioner for Germany

1959

Robert S. Aitken
Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of Birmingham

1958

Robert Dechert
General Counsel, Department of Defense

1957

Frank C. James
Principal and Vice Chancellor, McGill University

1956

Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
United Nations Representative for the United States

1955

Franklin D. Murphy
Chancellor, University of Kansas

1954

Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr.
Judge, United States District Court for Massachusetts

1953

February - Harry E. Humphreys, Jr.
Chairman, H.S. Rubber Company

June - Milton S. Eisenhower
President, Pennsylvania State University

1952

February - Boyd L. Spahr
President, Board of Trustees, Dickinson College

June - Henry M. Wriston
President, Brown University

1951

February - George K. Funston
President, Trinity College February Alfred H. Williams

June - James R. Killian, Jr.
President, Massachussetts Institute of Technology

September - Robert Strausz-Hupe
Professor of Political Science

1950

February - Paul G. Hoffman

June - Thomas K. Finletter
Secretary of the Air Force

1949

February - John Foster Dulles
Member of United States Delegation to the United Nations

June - Detlev W. Bronk
President, Johns Hopkins

August - William Edel
President, Dickinson College

1948

February - George K. Funston
President, Trinity College

March - Esmond R. Long
Director, Henry Phipps Institute

June - James F. Byrnes
Former Secretary of State, Congressman, and Supreme Court Justice

August - Paul W. Bruton
Professor of Law

1947

February - James Creese
President, Drexel Institute of Technology

March - Chester I. Barnard
President, New Jersey Bell Telephone Company

June - Margaret Mead
Associate Curator, American Museum of Natural History

August - Earl G. Harrison
Vice President in Charge of Law School

1946

February - J. Robert Oppenheimer
Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology

March - William S. Middleton
Dean of Medical School, University of Wisconsin

June - Nochem S. Winnet
Judge of Municipal Court, Philadelphia

June - Quo Tai-Chi
United Nations Security Council Representative, China

August - Herbert F. Goodrich
Judge, United States Circuit Court of Appeals

1945

March - Abraham A. Neuman
President, Dropsie College

June - Thomas J.S. Waxter
Public Welfare Administrator

June - Samuel T. Orton
Physician and Investigator

June - Arthur T. Vanderbilt
Dean of the Law School, New York University

October - Virginia C. Gildersleeve
Dean of Barnard College

1944

March - Ralph B. Perry
Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University

June - Earl G. Harrison
United States Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization

July - Glenn R. Morrow
Dean of the College

September - Capt. Richard A. Kern
Chief of Medicine, United States Naval Hospital

October - Charles F. Jenkins
President, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

1943

February - Henning W. Prentis, Jr.
Industrialist

June - John E. Pomfret
President, College of William and Mary

October - Rufus H. Fitzgerald
Vice Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh

December - Edwin G. Conklin
President, American Philosophical Society

1942

February - Douglas S. Freeman
Editor

June - Rex S. Clements
Minister, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church

September - Oliver J. Hart
Bishop Coadjutor Elect of Pennsylvania

1941

February - Felix M. Morley
President, Haverford College

June - Archibald MacLeish
Librarian of Congress

1940

February - Frank P. Graves
Commissioner for Education for New York

June - William E. Lingelbach
Dean of the College

September - Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States

1939

February - Joseph H. Willits
Former Dean, Wharton School

June - Josiah H. Penniman
Provost of the University

1938

February - John D. Spaeth
President, University of Kansas City

June - James R. Angell
Former President, Yale University

June - Gustave Adolf
Crown Prince of Sweden

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