Speaker Selection Draws Interest

The North Carolina Daily Tar Heel suggests that political speakers seem to be a trend.


With graduation season drawing near, universities across the country are finalizing plans for prominent Commencement speakers.

Last semester UNC selected Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, to deliver the spring address with a global perspective.

Other schools’ speakers this season are more markedly political, although university officials maintain that their invitations to speak are not political endorsements.

Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak at four separate Commencements this spring – at Knox College, Middlebury College, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Knox College’s previous Commencement speakers include Stephen Colbert and Barack Obama.

“I don’t know if I would call it a tradition of political speakers,” said Karrie Heartlein, director of public relations at Knox College.

“I would say that it’s a credit to our students. They select our speaker.”

She said having a big-name graduation speaker is important for the capstone event of students’ college careers.

“We want them to have a positive Commencement ceremony, to have positive memories about their experience.”

Read the Daily Tar Heel story.