Who’s speaking at this year’s local college commencements?
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
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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
Speaker: The Reverend Charles Howard, university chaplain
Speaker: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, professor of African American Studies, Princeton 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
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
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.
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.
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)
Speaker: Oprah Winfrey
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.
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)
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.
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
Speaker: Mark Zuckerberg
Speaker: Hillary Clinton
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
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 email@example.com