fb-pixelHere are the 2023 college commencement speakers in Massachusetts - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Here are the 2023 college commencement speakers in Massachusetts

Ukraine's Ambassador Oksana Markarova, pictured here on a visit this week to Capitol Hill, will be the Boston College commencement speaker on May 20.Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

Babson College

Babson College’s commencement ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 13, at the Upper Athletic Fields. Babson graduate Tim Ryan, senior partner and the US chair at international firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, will be speaking at the undergraduate commencement. Reshma Kewalramani, CEO of Boston-based biotechnology company Vertex Pharmaceuticals, will be speaking at the graduate commencement.

Berklee College of Music

Berklee’s commencement ceremony is on Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. at Agganis Area at Boston University. R&B singer Usher, singer-songwriter Roberta Flack, and kora player Sona Jobarteh will be speaking to the graduating class and receiving honorary degrees.

Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology

Advertisement



Franklin Cummings Tech’s commencement ceremony will be held May 20 at 10 a.m. in the Franklin Cummings Tech Auditorium and will also be streamed online. The keynote speaker will be author Michael Meyer, who wrote “Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet.”

Bentley University

Bentley University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, May 20 at 9:30 a.m. at the South Campus football field, with former governor and NCAA President Charlie Baker as the keynote speaker. The graduate and PhD ceremony will be held Friday, May 19 at 4 p.m. at the Bentley Arena, with Tripadvisor co-founder Steve Kaufer as the keynote speaker.

Boston College

Boston College’s commencement exercises for undergraduate and graduate students will be on Monday, May 22, at 10 a.m. in the Alumni Stadium, with Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, as the keynote speaker. Boston College Law School’s commencement will be on Friday May 26, at the Conte Forum on campus, with journalist Judy Woodruff as the keynote speaker.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, May 13 at 4 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center. Concert pianist Awadagin Pratt will deliver an address at the ceremony in person, and Emmy, Grammy, and Tony-winning actress, singer, author, and producer Cynthia Erivo will deliver an address virtually.

Advertisement



Boston University

Boston University’s commencement ceremony will be on Sunday, May 21, at Nickerson Field. The address will be given by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who is a BU School of Law graduate.

Brandeis University

Brandeis University’s 72nd Commencement Exercises will be held on Sunday, May 21 at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. Physician-researcher and Brandeis graduate Drew Weissman will deliver the keynote address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Historian and Harvard Law School professor, Annette Gordon-Reed, will deliver the keynote address at the graduate commencement ceremony.

Clark University

Clark University will hold its 119th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 21 on the main Campus Green, with a speech from Harvard Kennedy School professor Robert D. Putnam. The ceremonies will also be streamed online.

College of the Holy Cross

The College of the Holy Cross is celebrating its 177th commencement exercises on Friday, May 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the DCU Center in Worcester. Peter Welch, US Senator for Vermont and a 1969 graduate of Holy Cross, will be speaking and receiving an honorary degree during the ceremony.

Curry College

The Curry College commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 21 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield. The speaker will be Roderick L. Ireland, former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and a Northeastern University professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, who had also spoken at the 1998 Curry College commencement.

Advertisement



Dean College

Dean College’s commencement will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 6 at on the front lawn of Dean Hall. The commencement speaker is Emmy Award-winning sports journalist Andrea Kremer, ESPN’s first female correspondent.

Elms College

Elms College is holding its 92nd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 20 at 9:30am at the MassMutual Center. Kellogg Foundation CEO La June Montgomery Tabron will deliver the commencement address.

Emmanuel College

Emmanuel College’s 101st commencement exercises will be on Saturday, May 13 on the school’s Fenway campus, with a commencement address delivered by James O’Connell, founding physician and president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

Emerson College

Emerson College’s 143th commencement ceremony will be on Sunday, May 14 at 10 a.m. at Agganis Arena, and will also be streamed live. Warner Bros. Executive Pamela Abdy, an Emerson graduate, will be delivering the commencement address.

Endicott College

The Endicott College commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. at the Hempstead Stadium. Fashion designer Kenneth Cole will be the commencement speaker and will be presented with an honorary degree for his fashion, philanthropic, and advocacy work.

Fisher College

Fisher College’s undergraduate commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, May 13 at the Back Bay Events Center at John Hancock Hall, with a keynote address from Hollywood producer Kris Meyer. The graduate ceremony will be on Wednesday, June 28 on campus, with an address from Tom Grilk, former Boston Athletic Association Executive Director who led recovery efforts during the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

Advertisement



Framingham State University

Framingham State University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony will be at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 21 at the DCU Center in Worcester, with US Representative Ayanna Pressley as keynote speaker. The two graduate ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. at the Dwight Performing Arts Center.

Harvard University

Actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks will be the principal speaker at Harvard’s 372nd Commencement on Thursday, May 25 at the Tercentenary Theatre. Tickets will be required, but the proceedings will also be live streamed and available via cable in the local Boston area.

Actor Tom Hanks, with President Joe Biden and wife Rita Wilson last month at the White House, will speak at the Harvard commencement on May 25. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Lasell University

Lasell University’s commencement ceremonies will be on Taylor Field. The undergraduate ceremony will be on Saturday, May 13, with a keynote address from Marvin Gilmore, civil rights activist and co-founder of the first Black-owned commercial bank in New England, Unity Bank and Trust Company. The graduate commencement ceremony will be on Friday May 12, with a keynote address from Andrew DeFranza, Executive Director of Harborlight Homes.

Lesley University

Lesley University’s commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, May 20 at the Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston. The keynote speaker will be adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person in history to summit Mount Everest. Weihenmayer, a graduate of Boston College, earned a master’s degree in education from Lesley in 1993.

Advertisement



Massachusetts College of Art and Design

MassArt will be holding its commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 18 at the Leader Bank Pavilion, and it will also be streamed online. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Debra Granik will deliver the commencement address.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

MCLA’s 124th commencement exercises will be held Saturday, May 13, at 11 a.m. in the Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium. The speaker will be Patricia Okker, former president of New College of Florida and former dean of University of Missouri’s College of Arts and Science.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s commencement ceremony for all graduates will be held on Thursday, June 1 at Killian Court, with an address from former NASA engineer Mark Rober, who is now best-known for his Youtube channel with over 23 million subscribers. The undergraduate ceremony will be held on Friday, June 2. Advanced degree ceremonies will take place across Wednesday, May 31, Thursday, June 1, and Friday, June 2.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College’s 186th commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the Field House in the College’s Kendall Sports & Dance Complex. The speakers will be author Imani Perry, author Lan Cao and physicist Nancy Welker.

New England Conservatory

The New England Conservatory’s 152nd commencement exercises will be held on Sunday, May 21 at Jordan Hall, and will also be streamed online. The speaker will be George E. Lewis, a composer, trombonist and professor of music at Columbia University.

New England Law Boston

New England Law, Boston’s commencement will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 19 at the Boch Center Wang Theatre. An address will be given by the Honorable Paula M. Carey, former chief justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court and a New England Law graduate.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s commencement ceremonies will be on Sunday, May 7 at Fenway Park. Entrepreneur Mariam Naficy will be the speaker at the undergraduate commencement at 4 p.m. The graduate ceremony will be at 10 a.m.

Olin College of Engineering

Olin College’s commencement ceremony will be on Sunday, May 14 at 1 p.m. on campus, and will also be streamed online. The featured speaker will be Shirley Malcom, director of the SEA Change initiative at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Regis College

Regis College’s commencement exercises will be on Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. at the Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston. The address will be delivered by 7NEWS Today in New England anchor Amaka Ubaka, who will also receive an honorary degree.

Roxbury Community College

Roxbury Community College’s commencement ceremony will take place on Friday, May 12 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. The keynote speaker will be David C. Banks, chancellor of the New York City Public School system, the largest school system in the nation.

Salem State University

Salem State University’s commencement ceremonies will be on Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 at the Rockett Arena in the O’Keefe Center. Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, a former mayor of Salem who graduated from Salem State University in 1989, will be delivering an address at the ceremony on Friday at 3 p.m. for graduates from the Bertolon School of Business and select programs within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Smith College

Smith College’s commencement ceremony is scheduled to be held on Sunday, May 21, with an address given by Reshma Saujani, an activist who founded Girls Who Code, a nonprofit advocating for closing the gender gap in the tech sector, and Moms First, a nonprofit advocating to support mothers.

Stonehill College

Stonehill College’s commencement will be on Sunday, May 21 at 10 a.m. The speaker will be John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.

Former Boston Mayor U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh, the new head of the NHL Players' Association, will speak at the Suffolk University on May 21. Nathan Denette/Associated Press

Suffolk University

Suffolk University’s commencement ceremonies will be on Sunday, May 21 at the Leader Bank Pavilion. Marty Walsh, executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, former US labor secretary and former Boston mayor, will speak at the College of Arts & Sciences’s 1:30 p.m. ceremony. Abraham Ceesay, CEO at Rapport Therapeutics and a Suffolk University graduate, will speak at the Sawyer Business School’s 9 a.m. ceremony. Janai Nelson, president of the Legal Defense Fund, will speak at the law school’s 5:30 p.m. ceremony.

Tufts University

Amina J. Mohammed, deputy secretary-general for the United Nations, will be speaking to all Tufts University graduates during the first phase of the school’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21. The all-university ceremony will take place at The Green and will also be streamed online.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Legendary hall of fame soccer goalkeeper and alumna Briana Scurry, a trailblazer for African American women in sports, will present the keynote address at the University of Massachusetts Amherst commencement ceremony on Friday, May 26, at 9 a.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The university will also celebrate her many achievements with the presentation of an honorary degree. This year’s commencement has been re-envisioned to celebrate the entire Class of 2023—both undergraduate and graduate students—at one ceremony. The event will be held rain or shine.

United States' goal keeper Briana Scurry (1) blocks a penalty shootout kick by China's Ying Liu during overtime of the Women's World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., July 10, 1999. Scurry, a graduate of UMass Amherst, will speak at her alma mater's commencement on May 26. ERIC RISBERG/Associated Press

University of Massachusetts Boston

UMass Boston is holding two commencement ceremonies. The undergraduate commencement ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 25, at 9:30 a.m. , with keynote addresses delivered by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Granite Telecommunications President Rob Hale. The graduate commencement ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 24 at 3 p.m. on the Campus Center Lawn, and the doctoral hooding will be at 10 a.m. in the ballroom on the 3rd floor of the Campus Center.

Wellesley College

Wellesley College’s commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m. on the Severance Green, and will also be streamed online. The speaker will be Jocelyn Benson, a voting rights leader and Wellesley College graduate.

Wentworth Institute of Technology

The Wentworth Institute of Technology’s spring commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, April 22 on campus. The speaker will be urban designer Andrea Leers, former director of the Master in Urban Design Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Western New England University

The Western New England University’s commencement ceremonies will be at the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center. Jon Clifton, CEO of Gallup, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on Saturday, May 20 at 2 p.m. Thomas Lines, founder and CEO of Quercis Pharma, will deliver the graduate commencement address on Sunday, May 21 at 2 p.m.

Williams College

Williams College’s 234th commencement ceremony will be on Sunday, June 4, with a speech from Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. On Saturday, June 3, US Holocaust Museum Director Sara Bloomfield will deliver the college’s baccalaureate lecture.


Claire Law can be reached at claire.law@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @claire_law_.