Commencement: Arnold, Oprah, Obama, Oh My!

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on April 3, 2009

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By Mandy Oaklander
Commencement is right around the corner, and we’ve dug up the names of some of the speakers soon to grace the podiums at this year’s B-school graduation ceremonies. Here are a few:

• Miles White, Chairman and CEO of Abbott, will speak at the Kellogg School of Management.
• Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will address the student body of Wharton.
• Former U.S. Treasurer Secretary Paul O’Neill will speak to Hofstra University’s graduate program.

Undergraduate schools boast a similarly renowned list:

• President Barack Obama—University of Notre Dame
• First Lady Michelle Obama—University of California, Merced
• Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google—University of Pennsylvania
• Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont—University of Vermont
• Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State—Barnard College
• Oprah Winfrey, media mogul—Duke University
• Ellen DeGeneres, comedian—Tulane University
• Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States—Syracuse University
• Tom Brokaw, news anchor—College of William & Mary
• Justice Anthony Kennedy, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court—Stanford University
• Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California—University of Southern California

Before the caps start flying seems like a good time to ask what, exactly, graduates are expecting these people to say. With the U.S. economy looking more and more like a train wreck, are grads expecting a glorified pep talk? Or a lecture on the value of diminished expectations? With a reform-minded president in the White House (and at the Notre Dame podium) are grads looking forward to a wake-up call about personal responsibility, or a call to arms?

Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Reader Comments

Mandy Oaklander

April 6, 2009 6:32 PM

This just in...JPMorgan CEO (and HBS alum) James Dimon will be Harvard Business School's Class Day speaker. The commencement speech itself will be delivered by Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu.

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