Past Commencement Speakers



Printable texts of available commencement speeches are linked. Recent student speeches and Baccalaureate speeches are also available at http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/collrel/

Howard Gordon 95th Commencement 2013 Emmy-winning television writer and producer
Louis B. Susman 94th Commencement 2012 United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London
Cynthia Enloe '60 93rd Centennial Commencement 2011 Research professor of International Development, Community and Environment, Clark University
Jeffrey Sachs 92nd Commencement 2010 Economist, leading expert on globalism, poverty and sustainability
Martha Nussbaum 91st Commencement 2009 Philosopher and advocate for liberal arts and sciences education
Tavis Smiley 90th Commencement 2008 Public radio and television host, author, philanthropist and community advocate
Robert D. Ballard 89th Commencement 2007 Deep-sea explorer
Wangari Maathai 88th Commencement 2006 Nobel Prize-winning environmental activist; veterinary science professor
Estelle Parsons '49 87th Commencement 2005 Academy award-winning actor
Anita DeFrantz '74 86th Commencement 2004 Olympic medalist, lifetime member and former vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Wally Lamb 85th Commencement 2003 American novelist
Joyce Carol Oates 84th Commencement 2002 American author
Wynton Marsalis 83rd Commencement 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz musician
E. O. Wilson 82nd Commencement 2000 Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist
Frank McCourt 81st Commencement 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning Author
Honorable Andrew Young 80th Commencement 1998 US House of Representatives,
former Ambassador to the United Nations
Harris Wofford 79th Commencement 1997 CEO, Corp. for National Service (AmeriCorps)
Tom Brokaw 78th Commencement 1996 Journalist, television news anchor
Russell Baker 77th Commencement 1995 Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and journalist
Kimba Wood 76th Commencement 1994 US District Court Judge
Eugene V. Gallagher 75th Commencement 1993 Professor of Religious Studies,
Connecticut College
William Kane Reilly 74th Commencement 1992 Administrator,
US Environmental Protection Agency
Alvin F. Poussaint 73rd Commencement 1991 Professor of Psychiatry,
Harvard Medical School
Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr. 72nd Commencement 1990 USN Admiral (Ret.), Professor of Geopolitics,
University of Oklahoma
Leonard Lauder 71st Commencement 1989 President and CEO, Estee Lauder, Inc.
Guido Calabresi 70th Commencement 1988 Dean, Yale University School of Law
Marian Edelman 69th Commencement 1987 Civil rights leader
James Wooten 68th Commencement 1986 Journalist, writer, commentator
Andy Rooney 67th Commencement 1985 American radio and television writer, commentator
Charlayne Hunter-Gault 66th Commencement 1984 TV journalist
Lewis Thomas 65th Commencement 1983 Physician, educator, author, dean of Yale Medical School and New York School of Medicine
Honorable Christopher Dodd 64th Commencement 1982 US senator
Honorable Patricia Wald '48 63rd Commencement 1981 Judge, US Court of Appeals
Alan Alda 62nd Commencement 1980 Actor, writer, director
Archibald Cox 61st Commencement 1979 Lawyer, Professor, Harvard University
Dr. Henry Steele Commager 60th Commencement 1978 Professor Emeritus of History, Amherst College
John Kenneth Galbraith 59th Commencement 1977 Professor of Economics, Harvard University
George Plimpton 58th Commencement 1976 American journalist, author, editor
Isaac Asimov 57th Commencement 1975 Author
R. Buckminster Fuller 56th Commencement 1974 Architect, Mathematician
Honorable Lowell P. Weicker 55th Commencement 1973 US Senator
Ralph Nader 54th Commencement 1972 Consumer advocate
Honorable Ella T. Grasso 53rd Commencement 1971 US House of Representatives; first woman governor of Connecticut
John Doar 52nd Commencement 1970 American lawyer, civil rights activist; Bedford-Stuyvesant Development
and Services Group
Whitney Moore Young, Jr.
51st Commencement 1969 American civil rights leader; National Urban League, Inc., NY, NY
Edwin O. Reischauer 50th Commencement 1968 Professor, Harvard University and U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Rosemary Park 49th Commencement 1967 President, Barnard College; former president, Connecticut College
Kingman Brewster, Jr. 48th Commencement 1966 President, Yale University
August Heckscher 47th Commencement 1965 Twentieth Century Fund
Honorable Edith Green 46th Commencement 1964 US House of Representatives
Honorable Stewart L. Udall 45th Commencement 1963 Secretary of the Interior
Honorable Abraham A. Ribicoff 44th Commencement 1962 Former governor of Connecticut; Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
Dr. Henry Steele Commager 43rd Commencement 1961 American historian, Amherst College
Laurance S. Rockefeller 42nd Commencement 1960 Philanthropist
William C. DeVane 41st Commencement 1959 Dean, Yale College, Yale University
John W. Gardner 40th Commencement 1958 President, Carnegie Corporation of NY
Mark Van Doren 39th Commencement 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Columbia University
George F. Kennan 38th Commencement 1956 American adviser, diplomat, political scientist, historian; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. 37th Commencement 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian, Department of History, Harvard University
Erwin D. Canham 36th Commencement 1954 Editor, Christian Science Monitor
Earl J. McGrath 35th Commencement 1953 Former US Commissioner of Education
G. Keith Funston 34th Commencement 1952 President, New York Stock Exchange
Harry Allen Overstreet 33rd Commencement 1951 Emeritus Professor of Philosophy,
College of the City of New York
Dr. Ralph J. Bunche 32nd Commencement 1950 Director, Department of Trusteeship and Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories, UN; first person of color to receive the Nobel Peace Prize
Dr. Howard Mumford Jones 31st Commencement 1949 Professor of English, Harvard University
Norman Cousins 30th Commencement 1948 American journalist, world peace advocate, editor, "The Saturday Review of Literature"
Eugene O'Neill, Jr. 29th Commencement 1947 Son of the American playwright; Classics scholar, Department of Greek, Yale University
Karl T. Compton 28th Commencement 1946 Physicist; President, MIT
Honorable C. Wilbert Snow (Feb.)
Dr. Benjamin Wright (Sept.)
27th Commencement 1945 Lieutenant Governor, Conn.;
Professor of Government, Harvard University, respectively
E. Alverna Burdick (Feb.), C. Mildred Thompson (June), Mary Foulke Morrisson (Sept.) 26th Commencement 1944 Respectively: Dean of Students; Dean of Vassar College; Secretary of the Board of Trustees
Henry Wallace 25th Commencement 1943 Vice President of the United States
Mary Foulke Morrisson 24th Commencement 1942 Nationally known women's rights activist, Secretary of the Board of Trustees
Arthur T. Vanderbilt 23rd Commencement 1941 Former President, American Bar Association
Honorable Katherine F. Lenroot 22nd Commencement 1940 Children's rights activist, U.S. Dept. of Labor
James Grover McDonald 21st Commencement 1939 President, Brooklyn Institute of Arts & Sciences; first U. S. ambassador to Israel
Alice Hamilton 20th Commencement 1938 Pioneer in toxicology and occupational health. First woman appointed to the faculty at Harvard University
Marion Edwards Park
19th Commencement 1937 Classics scholar, defender of academic freedom; President of Bryn Mawr College
Christian Gauss 18th Commencement 1936 Influential literary critic; Dean at Princeton University
Honorable Josephine Roche 17th Commencement 1935 Social reformer, labor activist; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
George E. Vincent 16th Commencement 1934 Rockefeller Foundation. Education reformer; past president of University of Minnesota and the Chautauqua Institution
Harvey N. Davis 15th Commencement 1933 President, Stevens Institute of Technology
Judge Florence Ellinwood Allen 14th Commencement 1932 Among the first women to serve as a federal judge; early activist in women's suffrage movement
Frank Aydelotte 13th Commencement 1931 President, Swarthmore College
Jane Addams 12th Commencement 1930 A leader in women's suffrage and world peace movements; first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Price.
William Ernest Hocking 11th Commencement 1929 Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University
William Starr Myers 10th Commencement 1928 Professor of history and politics, Princeton University
Henry Sloan Coffin 9th Commencement 1927 President, Union Theological Seminary, NYC
Ada L. Comstock 8th Commencement 1926 President, Radcliffe College; one of the first presidents of the American Association of University Women
James T. Shotwell 7th Commencement 1925 American diplomat, Columbia University
Honorable Royal S. Copeland 6th Commencement 1924 US Senate, New York
Lindsay Roberts 5th Commencement 1923 Professor of Government, Columbia University
Reverend W. Douglas Mackenzie 4th Commencement 1922 President, Hartford Theological Seminary
Reverend Charles Reynolds Brown 3rd Commencement 1921 Yale University
Reverend Samuel McChord Crothers 2nd Commencement 1920 Minister, First Parish, Cambridge, Mass., popular essayist
Ralph Barton Perry 1st Commencement 1919 Harvard University