They are the sure signs of spring in Massachusetts — the Red Sox are back in town, the weather is sporadic at best, and on the weekends, the streets are filled with an army of cap-and-gown glad graduates and their families. It’s commencement season, and time to cue up the speakers who will offer graduates’ wisdom on navigating the real world.

This year’s roster of speakers contains some notables: Mark Zuckerberg (who’ll finally get a degree from Harvard, albeit honorary). Then there are Hillary Clinton (Wellesley), Oprah Winfrey (Smith), and Elizabeth Warren (UMass Amherst). Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy will speak at one local commencement (Simmons) and receive an honorary degree at another (Williams).


Here is a rundown of some of the region’s ceremonies.

Wentworth Institute of Technology

April 22, Copley Marriott, Boston

Speaker: Gregory B. Janey, principal owner of Janey Construction Management & Consulting Inc

Northeastern University

May 5, TD Garden

Speaker: Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent

Honorary degrees: Amanpour

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

May 6, Gillette Stadium

Speaker: Karyn Polito, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts

MGH Institute of Health Professions

May 6, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Speaker: MGH Institute President Janis P. Bellack, who is retiring after 10 years.

Honorary degree: Charles A. Sanders, former general director of Massachusetts General Hospital

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

May 12, McGuirk Alumni Stadium

Speaker: US Senator Elizabeth Warren

Berklee College of Music

May 13, Agganis Arena

Speaker: Todd Rundgren

Honorary degrees: Rundgren, Lionel Richie, Lucinda Williams, Neil Portnow, and Shin Joong Hyun

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

May 13, Tsongas Center

Speaker: Steve Kornacki, MSNBC host and political correspondent

Honorary degrees: College benefactors Francis Spinola, chemical industry leader, and his wife Mary Jo Spinola; and Steven Chu, former US secretary of energy.

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

May 13, Xfinity Center, Mansfield


Speaker: Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent

Honorary degrees: Totenberg; Morris Dees, Southern Poverty Law Center founder; and Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur Foundation managing director.

Emerson College

May 14, Agganis Arena at Boston University

Speaker: Dennis Lehane, author

Honorary Degrees: Lehane, civil rights advocate Anita Hill; Pulitzer Prize–winning author David McCullough; MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner, poet Claudia Rankine.

Mount Ida College

May 14, Mount Ida Campus

Speaker: Boston Police Commissioner William Evans

Honorary degrees: Evans; Francine A. LeFrak, social entrepreneur and women’s empowerment activist (Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters); Judge Jonathan Tynes ’94, Associate Justice of the Boston Municipal Court (Honorary Doctor of Law)

Springfield College

May 14, MassMutual Center

Speaker: Former state senator Gale D. Candaras (undergraduate); and Former US surgeon general Richard H. Carmona (graduate, on May 13)

Honorary degrees: Candaras and Carmona

Simmons College

May 19

Speaker: Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator

Honorary degrees: McCarthy; Darren Walker, social justice advocate; and Masayo Kodama, international activist and author, Dr. Judith Bradford (posthumous), Co-Chair of the Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, advocate and groundbreaking researcher on the health of sexual and gender minority populations.

Wheelock College

May 19, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Speaker: Senator Elizabeth Warren

Honorary Degrees: Warren, Dr. Valora Washington, CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition; and Pablo Javier Almaguer, attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

Babson College

May 20, Wellesley campus

Speaker: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia (first female president of an African nation)

Honorary degree: Sirleaf

Anna Maria College


May 20, Hanover Theatre

Speaker: Richard L. Connors, professor of psychology

Honorary Degrees: Connors; Robert R. Pape, chairman for the Adopt a Student Committee at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester; Mary Riordan, Holy Name Central Catholic High School, in Worcester

Andover Newton Theological School

May 20

Speaker: The Reverend Charles Howard, university chaplain

Hampshire College

May 20

Speaker: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, professor of African American Studies, Princeton University

Lesley University

May 20, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

Speaker: Sydney Chaffee, 2017 National Teacher of the Year; Susan Rodgerson, founder of Artists for Humanity

Honorary Degrees: Chaffee, Rodgerson, State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, and MacArthur Genius grant winner Alex Truesdell

Western New England University

May 20, Alumni Healthful Living Center

Speaker: Robert B. Stein, Jr., president and CEO of Kalibrate Technologies

Boston University

May 21, Nickerson Field

Speaker: Not yet announced

Bay Path University

May 21, MassMutual Center, Springfield

Speaker: Dr. Kathryn Hayward, global health advocate

Honorary Degrees: Hayward and Dr. Susanne Churchill, founder of the Institute for Circadian Physiology

Brandeis University

May 21

Speaker: Rosalie Silberman Abella, Canadian Supreme Court Justice

Honorary Degrees: computer scientist Leslie Lamport; Lisa M. Lynch, former interim Brandeis president; former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; and Barry Shrage, president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Clark University

May 21, Campus green, Worcester

Speaker: Dr. Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Honorary degrees: Mark Bittman, food journalist; and Linda Greenhouse, lecturer and journalist-in-residence at Yale Law School.

Curry College

May 21, D. Forbes Will Athletic Complex

Speaker: Karen Daley, former president of the American Nurses Association


Framingham State University

May 21, Framingham Town Green

Speaker: Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEO (undergraduate), U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (graduate)

Smith College

May 21

Speaker: Oprah Winfrey

Stonehill College

May 21

Speaker: Anne Thompson, chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News

Honorary degrees: Thompson; JoAnn Burton, co-founder of the Burton Training Village for at-risk youth, Bishop Arthur “Bud” Colgan, auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Chosica in Lima, Peru; and Robert Simpson, president and chief executive officer of LeeSar and Cooperative Services of Florida.

Suffolk University

May 21, Bank of America Pavilion

Speakers: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (law School); political scientist and author Robert D. Putnam (undergraduates); and Carol Fulp, president and CEO of The Partnership Inc. (business school)

Tufts University

May 21, The Academic Green

Speaker: Kenya Barris, televisio writer and producer, creator of “Black-ish”

Honorary Degrees: Bruce J. Baum, pioneering dental researcher; Sean B. Carroll, scientist and science communicator; Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the US Small Business Administration; Joyce Cummings, philanthropist; Jean McGuire, former head of METCO; and Joseph W. Polisi, president of The Julliard School.

Boston College

May 22, Alumni Stadium

Speaker: US Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania

Honorary degrees: Casey; community activist Amy Guen; Tiffany Gueye, CEO of Building Educated Leaders for Life; actor Chris O’Donnell; The Rev. Leo B. Shea, missioner for Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

Harvard University

May 25

Speaker: Mark Zuckerberg

Wellesley College

May 26

Speaker: Hillary Clinton

UMass Boston


May 26, TD Garden

Speakers: Irina Bokova, the first woman and the first Eastern European to serve as the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will address undergraduates. Gerald Chan, a biomedical scientist, investor, and benefactor, will speak at graduate ceremony May 25, at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion.

North Bennet Street School

June 2, Old North Church

Speaker: Eric Schandall, master piano technician

Williams College

June 4, Library Quad

Speaker: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian author

Honorary degrees: former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins; Will Dudley, president of Washington & Lee College; Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator in the Obama administration; and Gavin A. Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

William James College

June 4: Park Plaza Hotel

Speaker: Margot Stern-Strom, founder, Facing History and Ourselves

Honorary degrees: Stern-Strom; James Roosevelt Jr., former CEO & President of Tufts Health Plan; and Robert Lewis Jr., president and founder of The Base in Roxbury, which combines sports and academic opportunities for urban youths.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

June 9, Killian Court

Speaker: Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

This list will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. For updates, email Maddie Kilgannon at maddie.kilgannon@globe.com