Wellesley Community (and Beyond) Respond to Announcement of Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69 as Commencement Speaker
The news that one of Wellesley’s most recognized alumnae—as well as one of the most well-known and accomplished women in the world—will serve as this year’s commencement speaker set off an instant and exuberant reaction on social media yesterday, starting on campus among students.
Wellesley Snapchat Reporters Rory Fernandez ’20 and Emily Pearson ’20 reported the news about Hillary Rodham Clinton ‘69 in a series of snaps that captured the collective mood: excitement!
The Wellesley News broke the story on Twitter, shortly before 9 am, garnering hundreds of retweets and likes.
Unlike many other colleges and universities, Wellesley’s commencement speaker selection process is driven by its students. The 2017 Wellesley Class Council announced the selection on its Facebook page, writing, “We hope you are as thrilled and honored as we are.”
Alumnae also reacted—with a mix of cheers, humor, and even a bit of lighthearted envy.
Clinton has close ties to her alma mater, starting with her days as a student leader who delivered a memborable speech at her 1969 commencement. President Paula. A. Johnson noted in yesterday’s announcement, “Her persistence, her love of service, and her commitment to fight for women and girls serves as a living example of how to make ‘what appears to be impossible, possible,’ as she said to her fellow graduating classmates at Wellesley in 1969. Wellesley is immensely honored to welcome her home as this year’s commencement speaker.”
But, for the Class of 2017, the choice really came down to Clinton's ability to “profoundly inspire all of us,” said Casey Butler ’17, co-president of the senior class. “We arrive here believing in a future that respects women’s potential and accomplishment, but as graduating seniors, at this moment in history, we look to Secretary Clinton, our sister, as someone who will inspire us to make that future now.”
Amal Cheema ’17, also co-president, added, “She is the best person to represent who we have become at Wellesley and who we strive to be in the world. Her tireless push for progress embodies the spirit—and the courage—we seek in breaking down barriers and shattering glass ceilings of all kinds.”
Wellesley’s 139th commencement exercises will take place on Friday, May 26, at 10:30 am.