Syracuse University History:


Syracuse University Commencement Speakers

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2017 — Vernon E. Jordan Jr. - Civil Rights Activist, Senior Managing Director of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC

2016 — Donald Newhouse - President of Advance Publications

2015 — Mary Karr - Author and SU Professor

2014 — David Remnick - Editor of The New Yorker

2013 — Nicholas Kristof - New York Times Columnist

2012 — Aaron Sorkin - Award-winning Screenwriter, Producer, Playwright

2011 — J. Craig Venter - World-renowned Scientist

2010 — Jamie Dimon - Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase

2009 — Joseph R. Biden Jr. - 47th Vice President of the United States

2008 — Bob Woodruff - ABC News Journalist

2007 — Frank McCourt - Author/Pulitzer Prize Winner

2006 — Billy Joel - Singer/Songwriter

2005 — Jane Goodall - English Primatologist and Anthropologist

2004 — Phylicia Rashad - American Actress

2003 — Bill Clinton - Former President of the United States

2002 — Rudolph Giuliani - Former Mayor of New York City

2001 — Eileen Collins - NASA Astronaut

2000 — Ted Koppel - Anchor of ABC News Nightline

1999 — Charles E. Schumer - U.S. Senator from New York

1998 — Robert Fulghum - Author and Philosopher

1997 — Robert Coles - Professor of Social Ethics, Harvard University

1996 — Steve Kroft - 60 Minutes Correspondent and Editor

1995 — The Honorable Donna Shalala - Secretary of Health and Human Services

1994 — Kurt Vonnegut - American Novelist, Short Story Writer, and Literary Critic

1993 — Oren R. Lyons - Member of Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy

1992 — Wendy Kopp - Founder and President, Teach for America

1991 — John Naisbitt - Futurist and Author

1990 — William Safire - New York Times Columnist

1989 — Daniel Patrick Moynihan - U.S. Senator from New York

1988 — Malcolm Stevenson Forbes - Chairman, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Magazine

1987 — Thomas H. Kean - Governor of the State of New Jersey

1986 — Mario M. Cuomo - Governor of the State of New York

1985 — Sefan Lorant - Photojournalist and Author Pearl Bailey - Singer/Songwriter

1984 — Dan Rather - Anchor and Managing Editor of The CBS Evening News

1983 — Daniel J. Boorstin - Director of the Library of Congress

1982 — Ted Koppel - Anchor of ABC News Nightline and Syracuse University Alumnus

1981 — Alexander M. Haig - Secretary of State

1980 — Bill Moyers - PBS

1979 — Rev. Timothy Healy - Georgetown / Tom Brokaw - NBC

1978 — William Safire - New York Times Columnist and Syracuse University Alumnus

1977 — Gov. Hugh Carey - Governor of the State of New York John C. Sawhill - New York University

1976 — Sen. Claiborne Pell - U.S. Senator from Rhode Island

1975 — Sen. Edward Brooke - U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

1974 — Soia Mentschiokoff - University of Miami Law School

1973 — Sen. Edward Kennedy - U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

1972 — Sol M. Linowitz - National Urban League

1971 — Ramsey Clark - Lawyer and Political Activist

1970 — Julian Bond - Georgia Legislator U Thant - United Nations Secretary General

1969 — William F. Buckley, Jr. - American Conservative Author

1968 — Walter Cronkite - CBS

1967 — Barbara Ward - British Economist

1966 — Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller - Governor of the State of New York

1965 — Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey - Vice President of the United States

1964 — Terrence Edward Cawthorne - British Surgeon and Scientist

1963 — Sir Charles Percy Snow - British Novelist and Physicist The Honorable Adlai Ewing Stevenson -
spacerRepresentative of the United States to the United Nations

1962 — William Pearson Tolley - Chancellor, Syracuse University

1961 — The Honorable Stewart Lee Udall - Secretary of the Interior

1960 — Gilbert Highet - Professor of Latin Language and Literature, Columbia University

1959 — Finla Goff Crawford - Vice Chancellor, Syracuse University

1958 — Sir Leslie Knox Munro - President of the Twelfth Session of the United Nations and New Zealand Ambassador
spacerto the U.S.

1957 — John F. Kennedy - U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

1956 — Joseph William Martin, Jr. - Minority Leader or the House of Representatives
spacerSam Rayburn - Speaker of the House of Representatives

1955 — William Averell Harriman - Governor of the State of New York

1954 — Harold Edward Stassen - Director, Foreign Operations Administration

1953 — The Honorable Robert TenBroeck Stevens - Secretary, Department of the Army

1952 — The Honorable Margaret Chase Smith - U.S. Senator from Maine (January)
spacerFrank Abrams - Chairman, Standard Oil (May)

1951 — The Honorable Warren Robinson Austin - Chief Delegate of the United States to the United Nations (June)
spacerSir Gladwyn Jebb - Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom Delegation to the United Nations (January)
spacerThe Honorable Frank Pace, Jr. - Secretary, Department of the Army (June)

1950 — Eugene Garrett Bewkes - President of St. Lawrence University (January)
spacerJames Edwin Webb - Undersecretary, Department of State (June)

1949 — Lester Bowles Pearson - Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada (June)
spacerThe Honorable Irving McNeil Ives - U.S. Senator from New York (January)

1948 — William Pearson Tolley - Chancellor, Syracuse University (February)
spacerThe Honorable James William Fulbright - U.S. Senator from Arkansas (June)

1947 — Norman John Oswald Makin - Ambassador to the United States from Australia (June)
spacerWilliam Pearson Tolley - Chancellor, Syracuse University (January)
spacerCarter Davidson - President of Union College, President of Union University (September)

1946 — Joseph Hurst Ball - U.S. Senator from Minnesota (April)
spacerAdmiral Chester William Nimitz - Admiral, United States Navy (August)

1945 — Dr. Charles Franklin Kettering Vice-President and Director of General Motors Corporation (April)
spacerWilliam Pearson Tolley - Chancellor, Syracuse University (August)
spacerJames Phinney Baxter III - President, Williams College (December)

1944 — Samuel Paul Capen - Chancellor, University of Buffalo (May)
spacerWilliam Pearson Tolley - Chancellor, Syracuse University (December)

1943 — Justice Robert H. Jackson - United States Supreme Court (May)
spacerDixon Ryan Fox - President of Union College (August)
spacerEverett Needham Case - President of Colgate University (December)

1942 — Lord Halifax - British Ambassador to the United States

1941 — Leonard Walter Brockington, K.C. - Executive Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada

1940 — Owen D. Young - Founder of Radio Corporation of America

1939 — Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg - U.S. Senator from Michigan

1938 — Herbert Henry Lehman - Governor of the State of New York

1937 — Dorothy Thompson Lewis - American Journalist and Activist

1936 — Dr. Harold Glenn Moulton - President of the Brookings Institute, Washington D.C.

1935 — Sir Josiah Stamp - Director, Bank of England and Chairman of the London Midland and Scottish Railway

1934 — Dr. Harvey Cushing - Yale University, School of Medicine

1933 — William Hartman Woodin - Secretary of the Treasury of the United States

1932 — R.B. Bennett - Premier of Canada

1931 — George Woodward Wickersham - Attorney General of the United States

1930 — Frank Pierrepont Graves - President, State University of New York
spacerFranklin Delano Roosevelt - Governor of the State of New York

1929 — Alanson B. Houghton - Ambassador at the Court of St. James
spacerHerr Friedrich Wilhelm von Prittwitz und Gaffron - Ambassador to the United States from Germany

1928 — Harlan F. Stone - Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

1927 — Rev. Charles Clayton Morrison, D.D. - Liberal Christian Activist (February)
spacerHenry Lewis Stimson - Secretary of War, Secretary of State of the United States (June)
spacerJames Brown Scott - American Lawyer and Authority on International Law (June)

1926 — Sir Henry Worth Thornton, K.B.E. - President, Canadian National Railways

1925 — Rev. Frederick Franklin Shannon, D.D. (February)
spacerBishop Adna Wright Leonard, L.L.D. - Methodist Bishop of Buffalo, New York (June)

1924 — Frank Orren Lowden, A.B., L.L.B. - Former Governor of Illinois (February)
spacerJulius Howland Barnes, A.M. - President of the U.S. Commerce (June)

1923 — Senator Royal S. Copeland, M.D. - U.S. Senator from New York

1922 — Louis Marshall, L.L.D. - Corporate and Constitutional Lawyer, Conservationist

1921 — Elbert H. Gary, L.L.D. - Co-Founder of U.S. Steel

1920 — John H. Finley, L.L.D. - President, University of the State of New York

1919 — Col. George Harvey, L.L.D. - Editor of Harper's Weekly

1918 — Rev. Dr. Charles Henry Parkhurst, D.D., L.L.D. - Clergyman and Social Reformer

1917 — Rev. Bishop Edwin Holt Hughes, S.T.D., L.L.D. - Bishop, Methodist Episcopal Church

1916 — Rev. Bishop W.S. Lewis, D.D., L.L.D. - Bishop, China

1915 — James Alexander Macdonald, L.L.D. - Editor of the Toronto Globe

1914 — Rev. George Peck Eckman, Ph.D., D.D. - Religious Author

1913 — Rev. George Peck Eckman, Ph.D., D.D. - Religious Author

1912 — Rev. Bishop James Whitfield Bashford, Ph.D., D.D., L.L.D. - Bishop, Methodist Episcopal Church

1911 — William Renwick Riddell - Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Legal Historian

1910 — Rev. Dr. Charles Carroll Albertson - American Religious Author

1909 — George Edwin MacLean, L.L.D. - President, State University of Iowa

1908 — Hamilton Wright Mabie, L.L.D. - American Essayist, Editor, and Critic

1907 — Andrew Sloan Draper, L.L.D. - Commissioner of Education, Albany, N.Y.

1906 — Rev. Samuel Parkes Cadman, D.D. - Founder of Federation Council of Churches in America

1905 — Rev. James Monroe Buckley, D.D. L.L.D. - Editor of the New York Christian Advocate

1904 — Rev. Robert Stuart McArthur, D.D., L.L.D. - Baptist Clergyman and Orator

1903 — Gen. O.O. Howard, A.M., L.L.D. - Chief Commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau, Founder of Howard College

1902 — Martin A. Knapp, A.M., L.L.D.

1901 — William De Witt Hyde, D.D., L.L.D. - President, Bowdoin College

1900 — Bradford P. Raymond, D.D., L.L.D. - President, Wesleyan College

1899 — Henry King Carroll, L.L.D. - Professor of Theology, Free Church College

1898 — Henry Wade Rogers, L.L.D. - President, Northwestern University

1897 — Borden P. Bowne, L.L.D. - Professor, Boston University

1896 — Rev. Charles J. Little, L.L.D. - Professor, Syracuse University

1895 — Rev. Bishop Charles H. Fowler, D.D. - Episcopal Bishop From Minnesota

1894 — Rev. James M. Buckley, D.D. - Editor of the New York Christian Advocate

1893 — Stewart L. Woodford - United States Ambassador to Spain