Commencement Speakers

For more information on past speakers, visit the Commencement Archives.

Year Speaker
2013 Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama
2012 Melissa Harris-Perry, Professor, political scientist, author, MSNBC host
Professor, political scientist, author, Nation columnist, MSNBC host, and rising “nerdland” icon - See more at:
Professor, political scientist, author, Nation columnist, MSNBC host, and rising “nerdland” icon - See more at:
Professor, political scientist, author, Nation columnist, MSNBC host, and rising “nerdland” icon - See more at:
2011 Jane Condon '73, Comedian
2010 Lynn Sherr '63, ABC News Journalist
2009 Kimberly Dozier '87, CBS News Correspondent
2008 Cathie Black, President, Hearst Magazines
2007 Madeleine Korbel Albright '59, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
2006 Ophelia Dahl '94, Executive Director of Partners in Health
2005 Patricia J. Williams '73, Professor at Columbia School of Law
2004 Toni Morrison, award-winning author
2003 Linda Wertheimer '65, National Public Radio Senior Correspondent
2002 Whoopi Goldberg, actress, comedian and humanitarian
2001 Jehan Sadat, human rights activist
2000 Pamela Daniels '59, class of 2000 dean
1999 Lynn Sherr '63, journalist and author, correspondent for ABC News
1998 Pamela Melroy '83, astronaut, International Space Station 2000
1997 Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, actress, producer, philanthropist and business leader
1996 Nora Ephron '62, writer, film director and producer
1995 Madeleine Korbel Albright '59, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
1994 Cokie Boggs Roberts '64, ABC News Congressional Correspondent and NPR Senior News Analyst
1993 Gloria Steinem, feminist
1992 Hillary Rodham Clinton '69, attorney
1991 Madeleine L'Engle, author
1990 Barbara Bush, First Lady, United States of America
1989 Susan Estrich '74, law professor and manager of Dukakis Presidential campaign
1988 Gloria Steinem, feminist
1987 Elizabeth Hanford Dole, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
1986 Diane Sawyer '67, journalist
1985 Geraldine Ferraro, former Congresswoman and 1984 Vice Presidential candidate
1984 Carol Gilligan, educator, psychologist and author
1983 Susan Sontag, essayist, film director and novelist
1982 Maya Angelou, poet, author and actress
1981 Ellen Goodman, columnist
1980 Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonsbury cartoon strip
1979 Nora Ephron '62, author and journalist
1978 Jill Wine-Volner, General Counsel to the Army (formerly Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor)
1977 Elizabeth Brenner Drew '57, writer and television commentator
1976 Rosemary Murray, Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, Cambridge, England
1975 Patricia Carbine, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Ms Magazine
1974 John Kenneth Galbraith, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
1973 Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman from New York
1972 Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chairwoman, New York City Commission on Human Rights
1971 Kate Millett, feminist
1970 George Wald, Professor of Biology, Harvard University
1969 Edward W. Brooke, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
1968 Howard W. Johnson, President of MIT
1967 Sol M. Linowitz, U.S. Representative to the Organization of American States
1966 Eugene R. Black, Former Pres. of the World Bank, Special Advisor to Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson
1965 Elisabeth Luce Moore '24, Trustee of Wellesley College
1964 McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
1963 Erwin Dain Canham, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor
1962 Santha Rama Rau '44, author
1961 Vera Micheles Dean, Editor, Foreign Policy Association -- World Affairs Center
1960 Fred M. Hechinger, Education Editor of The New York Times
1959 Neil H. McElroy, U.S. Secretary of Defense
1958 James Reston, Chief Washington Correspondent of The New York Times
1957 Edward Weeks, Editor of The Atlantic Monthly
1956 McGeorge Bundy, Prof. of Govt and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Univ.
1955 Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr., Judge of U.S. District Court, Massachusetts
1954 John H. Finley, Jr., Professor of Greek Literature, Harvard University
1953 Mildred McAfee Horton, President of Wellesley College, 1936-49
1952 Erwin Dain Canham, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor
1951 Archibald MacLeish, poet and Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, Harvard University
1950 John Knox Jessup, Chairman, Board of Editors of Fortune
1949 Mildred McAfee Horton, President of Wellesley College, 1936-49
1948 Edward A. Weeks, Jr., Editor of The Atlantic Monthly
1947 James Forrestal, U.S. Secretary of the Navy
1946 Harold E. Stassen, ex-Governor of Minnesota
1945 Leverett Saltonstall, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
1944 Vice-Admiral Randall Jacobs, U.S. Navy, Chief of Naval Personnel
1943 Harvey Hollister Bundy, Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of War
1942 Hu Shih, Ambassador from China to the U.S.
1941 Archibald MacLeish, poet and Librarian of Congress
1940 Karl Taylor Compton, President of MIT
1939 Stephen Duggan, Director of the Institute of International Education, New York
1938 Ernest Hatch Wilkins, President of Oberlin College
1937 Josephine Roche, U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
1936 Charles Seymour, Provost of Yale University
1935 Frances Perkins, U.S. Secretary of Labor
1934 George E. Vincent, Dean Emeritus of Yale Divinity School
1933 James G. McDonald, Chairman of the Board of the Foreign Policy Association
1932 M. Roy Ridley, Fellow and Chaplain of Balliol College, Oxford
1931 Willard Learoyd Sperry, Dean of the Harvard Divinity School
1930 Raymond Blaine Fosdik, lawyer
1929 Roscoe Pound, Dean of Harvard Law School
1928 Sir Robert Falconer, President of University of Toronto
1927 Michael Pupin, Professor of Electro-Mechanics, Columbia University
1926 Chauncey Brewster Tinker, Professor of English Literature, Yale University
1925 Robert Morss Lovett, Editor of The New Republic
1924 Rev. Samuel McChord Crothers
1923 Judge Florence Ellinwood Allen, Supreme Court of Ohio
1922 Raymond B. Fosdick, lawyer
1921 Gutzon Borglum, sculptor and orator
1920 Charles Evans Hughes, ex-Governor of New York
1919 Albert Parker Fitch, Professor of the History of Religion, Amherst College
1918 Rev. Raymond Calkins
1917 William Ernest Hocking, Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University
1916 George Edgar Vincent, President of the University of Minnesota
1915 William Howard Taft, former U.S. President; Professor of Law, Yale University
1914 John Finley, New York State Commissioner of Education
1913 Bliss Perry, Professor of English Literature, Harvard University
1912 Talcott Williams, President of Columbia School of Journalism
1911 John Farwell Moors, Boston broker
1910 Curtis Guild, Jr., former Governor of Massachusetts
1909 Jonathan Prentiss Dolliver, Senator from Iowa
1908 Rev. Samuel McChord Crothers
1907 William Roscoe Thayer, author
1906 James Hulme Canfield, Librarian of Columbia University
1905 William De Witt Hyde, Professor of Bowdoin College
1904 George Herbert Palmer, Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University
1903 Richard Watson Gilder, Editor of The Century
1902 LeBaron Russell Briggs, Dean of Harvard College
1901 Caroline Hazard, President of Wellesley College, 1899-1910
1900 Theodore Salisbury Woolsey, Professor of International Law, Yale University
1899 Hamilton Wright Mabie, Associate Editor of The Outlook
1898 Benjamin Ide Wheeler, Professor of Greek, Cornell University
1897 Calvin Thomas, Professor of Germanic Languages and Literature, Columbia University
1896 Albert Bushnell Hart, Professor of History, Harvard University
1895 Woodrow Wilson, Professor of Jurisprudence and Politics, Princeton University
1894 Rev. James Gardiner Vose
1893 G. Stanley Hall, President of Clark University
1892 Rev. Philip Stafford Moxom
1891 Rev. Heman Lincoln Wayland
1890 Alice Freeman Palmer, President of Wellesley College, 1881-87
1889 Jacob Gould Schurman, Professor of Philosophy, Cornell University
1888 W. C. P. Breckenridge, Congressman from Kentucky
1887 James O. Murray, Professor of English Language and Literature, Princeton University
1886 Rev. Marvin R. Vincent
1885 Daniel C. Gilman, President of Johns Hopkins University
1884 Rev. Charles Dana Barrows
1883 George S. Morris, Johns Hopkins University and University of Michigan
1882 Rev. N. Howard Crosby
1881 [no Commencement exercises]
1880 John D. Long, Governor of Massachusetts
1879 Rev. R. S. Storrs