Third Look at 2012 College Commencement Speakers

Third Look at 2012 College Commencement Speakers
  • Opening Intro -

    We're following up our two earlier articles detailing 2012 college commencement speakers with our third list, this one covering schools holding June commencements.


Our latest look at the speakers who will be addressing the class of 2012.

Our Monday list covered schools that will be holding commencement exercises beginning later this month. Our Tuesday list features select May graduation ceremonies.

1. Princeton University — On June 3, Princeton University will be sending off the class of 2012. Addressing grads will be author Michael Lewis, a 1982 grad of this New Jersey Ivy institution. Lewis has written more than six books, two of which have been turned into Hollywood movies. His “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” examined the valuation of baseball players while his most recent book, “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” looks at today’s financial crisis.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — MIT grads will be welcoming MIT grad Salman Khan (1998), founder of the online Khan Academy to their commencement exercise on June 8 in Cambridge. The Khan Academy provides more than 3,100 instruction videos for free in a bid to make education accessible to anyone. The school reaches millions of students around the world who learn at their own pace.

3. University of Washington — On June 9, the University of Washington will give the class of 2012 its send off. Meeting at CenturyLink Field, the school is welcoming EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson as its commencement speaker. The administrator’s appearance follows a visit she made earlier this year where she held at Town Hall meeting. Prior to serving as EPA head, Jackson was the assistant commissioner of compliance and enforcement for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

4. Santa Clara University — Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak has been invited to speak to the Santa Clara University class of 2012 on June 16. Wozniak is a philanthropist whose contributions to education has helped school-age children.

5. Stanford University — He is the mayor of a large city on the other side of the country, but received his political science degree and an MA in sociology through Stanford. That has this California university welcoming Newark, N.J. mayor Cory Booker to its campus, the keynote speaker at its 121st commencement exercise on June 17 in Palo Alto. Booker was elected in 2006 and reelected in 2010, and has been credited with reducing crime and promoting business growth.

6. Oregon State University — First lady Michelle Obama will be speaking to OSU students at their commencement exercise on June 17. Obama, who has advocated for health since her husband took office in January 2009 is also the sister of the school’s men’s basketball coach, Craig Robinson. Obama will also address grads at Virginia Tech and North Carolina A&T this year.

7. Clark College — U.S. Army veteran and J.R. Martinez will be addressing Clark College grads in Vancouver, Washington, on June 21. Martinez survived a fiery accident in March 2003 when his Humvee struck an Iraqi landline, trapping him inside. Since then, he has had 33 surgeries for skin grafts and cosmetic surgery, and has used his experience to motivate others including burn victims.

Are commencement speakers set in stone? Not always. And, you’ll find the usual critics who object to one or more speakers on a variety of grounds, usually taking to the campus newspaper, to Facebook or even to advocate for a different person to address a graduating class. Rarely is a speaker changed, with that decision typically coming many months before commencement.


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Categories: Campus News