Unique, dynamic speakers take part in Penn’s 2016 graduation ceremonies

Graduation festivities kick off this week at Penn, with school ceremonies beginning as early as Thursday, May 12, and are capped off by the University’s 260th Commencement on Monday, May 16, at Franklin Field, which is headlined by composer, writer, and performing artist Lin-Manuel Miranda. His most recent Broadway show, “Hamilton,” earned a record 16 Tony nominations.

“He is certainly one of the most popular choices we’ve had in a number of years,” says Vice President and University Secretary Leslie Kruhly. “He’s a brilliant man, and we’re truly lucky to have him.”

Miranda isn’t the only speaker, with each school at the University holding its own ceremony and bringing in its own special guest. This year, nine of the presenters are Penn alumni.

“The range of speakers this year is extremely broad,” Kruhly says.

Below, a list of those coming to Penn, by school:

·     Annenberg School for Communication, Maria Popova, founder, Brain Pickings

·     School of Arts & Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Billy Shore, founder, Share Our Strength

·     School of Arts & Sciences, graduate division, Anne Norton, chair and professor, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

·     School of Arts & Sciences, College of Liberal and Professional Studies, Anita Allen, vice provost for faculty, Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law, and professor of philosophy, University of Pennsylvania

·     School of Arts & Sciences, Fels Institute of Government, General Larry O. Spencer, former vice chief of staff, United States Air Force

·     Baccalaureate ceremony, David Brooks, author, political and cultural commentator, New York Times columnist, Honorary Degree recipient

·     School of Dental Medicine, Carol Gomez Summerhays, president, American Dental Association

·     School of Design, Thom Mayne, founder and design director, Morphosis; practice professor of architecture, Paul Philippe Cret Professor, University of Pennsylvania

·     Graduate School of Education, Deborah Loewenberg Ball, dean, University of Michigan School of Education

·     School of Engineering and Applied Science, undergraduate ceremony, Lloyd W. Howell Jr., executive vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton

·     School of Engineering and Applied Science, master’s ceremony, Gayle Laakmann McDowell, entrepreneur, consultant, programmer, author

·     School of Engineering and Applied Science, doctoral ceremony, David Ege, executive director for vaccines and biologics manufacturing, Merck & Co., Inc.

·     Law School, Loretta E. Lynch, 83rd Attorney General of the United States

·     Perelman School of Medicine, Michael S. Brown, Nobel laureate, The W.A. (Monty) Moncrief Distinguished Chair in Cholesterol and Arteriosclerosis Research, regental professor, Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine, UT Southwestern

·     School of Nursing, Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson

·     School of Social Policy & Practice, Ari Shapiro, award-winning journalist, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered”

·     School of Veterinary Medicine, Russell C. Redding, secretary of agriculture for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

·     Wharton School, undergraduate ceremony, David Bell, Xinmei Zhang and Yongge Dai Professor of Marketing, University of Pennsylvania

·     Wharton School, MBA division, Ruth Porat, CFO, Alphabet Inc.

·     Wharton School, MBA for executives, Anthony Noto, CFO, Twitter

·     Wharton School, San Francisco MBA for executives, Jacqueline Reses, capital lead and people lead, Square

The academic regalia worn during Penn’s graduation has a long history, adopted by the University’s trustees in 1887 and remaining relatively unchanged since 1896. Hood color varies by degree, with Nursing graduates wearing peach, Dental students in lilac, and those earning their education degree in light blue, for example. (A full list of hoods can be found here.)

“It’s a day of celebration,” Kruhly says, one filled with color—and inspiration—for this year’s Penn grads. 

Commencement 2016