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Digitized Resource

Selected Commencement Addresses, 1899-present

An asterix (*) denotes that the full text of the address is available. All others are summaries or excerpts. A caret (^) denotes an external link to that year’s address.

Year Month Speaker(s) Title
1899 June 15 Hampton L. Carson*
1900 June 13 William L. Prather*
1901 June 12 James M. Beck* The Student of Wittenberg and his Dram of Eale
1902 June 18 Nicholas Murray Butler*
1903 June 17 Horace Howard Furness*
1904 June 15 David McConnell Steele*
1905 June 14 George Harris*
1906 June 13 John Bach McMaster*
1907 June 19 John A. Johnson* The University Man’s Opportunity
1908 June 17 Edgar Fahs Smith* Our University
1909 June 16 Josiah H. Penniman* The Best in University Training
1910 June 15 Philander C. Knox* The Spirit and Purpose of American Diplomacy
1911 June 21 Thomas R. Marshall* The University Man
1912 June 19 Joseph Swain* Privileges and Duties of American Citizenship
1913 June 18 Edward P. Cheyney*
1914 June 17 Jean J. Jusserand*
1915 June 16 Felix E. Schelling*
1916 June 21 Bliss Perry*
1917 June 20 Charles Franklin Thwing*
1919 June 19 Leonard Wood*
1920 June 16 Edgar Fahs Smith* Farewell Address
1921 June 15 Ernest Martin Hopkins* The Improvability of Man
1922 June 14 Josiah H. Penniman, Cornelius Weygandt, and Alfred Stengel*
1923 February 16 Warren Powers Laird* Art and Life
1923 June 20 Josiah H. Penniman, Thomas P. McCutcheon, and Edwin R. Keedy*
1924 February 16 Charles R. Turner*
1924 June 18 Solomon S. Huebner and Walton Brooks McDaniel*
1925 February 14 J.P. Wickersham Crawford*
1925 June 17 Rodney H. True and O.H. Perry Pepper* The University Man as Citizen (True)
1926 February 13 Robert Belle Burke*
1926 June 16 Edgar A. Singer and George W. McClelland*
1927 February 12 Arthur Willis Goodspeed*
1927 June 15 William E. Lingelbach* Universities and Progress
1928 February 18 Josiah H. Penniman*
1928 June 20 Frederic L. Ballard*
1929 February 16 Harold Pender*
1929 June 19 St. George L. Sioussat* Frontiers for the Future
1930 June 18 Cheesman A. Herrick* University of Pennsylvania’s Service to City and Commonwealth
1931 June 17 Thomas Sovereign Gates* The Human Side of Higher Education
1932 June 22 Harlow Shapley* A Running in Trails
1933 February 18 W. Brooke Stabler
1933 June 21 Horace Stern
1935 June 19 Isaiah Bowman
1937 June 9 Cordell Hull
1939 February 18 Joseph Henry Willits
1939 June 14 Josiah H. Penniman
1940 February 17 Frank Pierrepont Graves
1941 February 15 Felix Muskett Morley
1941 June 11 Archibald MacLeish* Phophets of Doom
1942 February 14 Douglas Southall Freeman
1942 June 2 Rex Stowers Clements
1942 September 16 Oliver James Hart
1943 February 6 Henning Webb Prentiss, Jr. The Cult of Competency
1943 June 2 John Edwin Pomfret* National Morale
1944 March 4 Ralph Barton Perry Idealism in Politics
1944 October 31 Charles Francis Jenkins
1945 June 28 Arthur T. Vanderbilt
1945 October 30 Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve
1946 February 28 J. Robert Oppenheimer
1946 June 27 Tai-Chi Quo
1946 August 29 Herbert Funk Goodrich
1947 March 15 Chester Irving Barnard
1947 June 18 Roger Adams
1947 August 28 Earl Grant Harrison
1948 February 7 George Keith Funston
1948 June 9 James Francis Byrnes
1949 February 12 James Foster Dulles
1949 June 15 Detlev Wulf Bronk
1949 August 24 William Wilcox Edel
1950 February 11 Paul Grey Hoffmann
1950 June 14 Thomas Knight Finletter
1951 February 10 George Keith Funston
1951 June 13 James Rhyne Killian
1951 September 19 Robert Strausz-Hupé
1952 February 16 Boyd Lee Spahr
1952 June 18 Henry Merritt Wriston*
1953 February 7 Harry Elmer Humphreys, Jr.
1953 June 10 Milton Stover Eisenhower*
1954 February 13 Dag Hammarskjöld
1954 June 16 Gayson Louis Kirk and Charles E. Wyzanski Man’s Right to Knowledge and the Free Use Thereof (Kirk)
1955 February 12 Oveta Culp Hobby
1955 June 15 Franklin David Murphy
1956 February 11 Earl Warren
1956 June 13 Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
1957 February 9 George Michael Leader
1957 June 12 Frank Cyril James
1958 February 8 Willy Brandt
1958 June 11 Robert Dechert The Export of Ideas
1959 June 10 Robert Stevenson Aitken
1960 February 13 George Bogdan Kistiakowsky*
1961 June 5 Crawford Hallock Greenewalt*
1962 May 21 Clarence Douglas Dillon and Felix Houphouet-Boigny*
1963 May 20 Francis Keppel* Reflections on an Image
1964 May 18 William Warren Scranton*
1965 May 24 John Bruce*
1966 May 23 Robert Clifton Weaver*
1967 May 22 Raymond P. Shafer*
1968 May 20 William S. Paley*
1969 May 19 Barbara Ward Jackson*
1970 May 18 Martin Meyerson*
1971 May 24 David Riesman*
1972 May 22 John H. Knowles* Virtues and Values in American Life
1973 May 21 Roy Jenkins*
1974 May 20 Milton J. Shapp*
1975 May 18 Gerald R. Ford*
1976 May 28 Warren E. Burger* What Do You Want From Your Century?
1977 May 22 Hubert H. Humphrey*
1978 May 22 Patricia R. Harris* The University and the City
1980 May 19 Noel Annan*
1981 May 18 Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.*
1982 May 17 Sol M. Linowitz*
1983 May 23 Ellen H. Goodman*
1984 May 21 W. Wilson Goode*
1985 May 20 Donald T. Regan*
1986 May 19 Michael S. Brown*
1987 May 18 Riccardo Muti* La Vita Buona
1988 May 16 Patricia Schroeder*
1989 May 22 Mike Wallace*
1990 May 14 Barbara Pierce Bush*
1991 May 21 Ted Koppel*
1992 May 18 Ismail Mahomed*
1993 May 17 Hillary Rodham Clinton*^ You Will Look for the Right Balance…
1994 May 19 Henry G. Cisneros*^ Proud to be Part of the Family
1995 May 22 Jane Alexander*
1996 May 21 Tom Brokaw*^
1997 May 19 William H. Cosby*^
1998 May 18 Jimmy Carter*^ The Things You Cannot See
1999 May 17 Robert E. Rubin*^ A Healthy Respect for Uncertainty
2000 May 22 Seamus Heaney*^ Transcending Boundaries
2001 May 21 John McCain*^ Confronting Challenges
2002 May 13 James Lehrer*^ Risk It
2003 May 19 Desmond Tutu*^ We All Are Family
2004 May 17 Bono*^ Because We Can, We Must
2005 May 16 Kofi Annan*^ A Future “In Larger Freedom”
2006 May 15 Jodie Foster*^ Filling your Life with your Passions
2007 May 14 James A. Baker*^ Go Forth—Be Leaders
2008 May 19 Michael R. Bloomberg *^ Sharing ‘Four Virtues to Lead By’
2009 May 18 Eric E. Schmidt*^ The Courage to be Unreasonable
2010 May 17 Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.*^ Putting Life in Perspective
2011 May 16 Denzel Washington*^ Fall Forward
2012 May 14 Geoffrey Canada*^ The Common Good
2013 May 13 Joseph R. Biden, Jr.*^ A Chance to Write a New Chapter
2014 May 19 John Legend*^ Love Yourself, Love Your Work, Love the People Around You
2015 May 18 Samantha Power*^ Serving Community and Changing the World
2016 May 16 Lin-Manuel Miranda*^ The Stories We Tell
2017 May 15 Cory A. Booker*^ Making a World of Change for Everyone
2018 May 14 Andrea Mitchell*^ Be Curious, Open-Minded and Engaged—Never Stop Learning
2019 May 20 Bryan Stevenson (address not published)