Previous Commencements

Year - Commencement Speaker
2013 - John Lewis, U.S. Representative
2012 - Dylan Ratigan ’94, talk show host and author
2011 - Judy Woodruff, news anchor and journalist
2010 – Alan Horn, president and chief operating officer, Warner Bros.
2009 – Paul A. Volcker, former chair of the Federal Reserve
2008 – Ruth Simmons, president, Brown University
2007 – Charles D. Gibson, ABC news anchor
2006 – James Underwood, interim president, Union College
2005 – Roger Hull, president, Union College
2004 – Kevin M. Rampe ‘88, president, Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
2003 – Joanne Rogers, wife of Fred “Mr.” Rogers, television actor
2002 – Jeff Greenfield, political analyst, author, CNN news anchor
2001 – David Kessler, former commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
2000 – Kevin Klose, president, CEO, National Public Radio
1999 – Raymond V. Gilmartin Jr. ‘63, CEO, Merck & Co.
1998 – Rep. Victor H. Fazio Jr. ‘65, D-Calif.
1997 – Robert Holland Jr. ‘62, president, Workplace Integrators
1996 – Phil Alden Robinson ‘71, film writer, producer, director
1995 – U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-NY
1994 – David G. McCullough, historian, biographer
1993 – Garry Wills, author, journalist
1992 – U.S. Sen. Paul E. Tsongas, D-Mass., presidential candidate
1991 – Marian Wright Edelman, president, founder, Children’s Defense Fund
1990 – Richard Roth, CBS news correspondent
1989 – Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, Ind.
1988 – J. Peter Grace, CEO, president, chairman, W.R. Grace & Co.
1987 – Mark Russell, political satirist
1986 – Joseph A. Califano, lawyer, author
1985 – Sydney H. Schanberg, columnist, New York Times
1984 – Thomas J. Watson Jr., chairman, IBM; former U.S. ambassador to USSR
1983 – U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y.
1982 – William M. Ellinghaus, president, CEO, AT&T
1981 – Jack W. Peltason, president, The American Council on Education
1980 – Rep. John Brademas, majority whip, U.S. House of Representatives
1979 – Ernest Leroy Boyer, U.S. Commissioner of Education
1978 – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist, author
1977 – Baruch Samuel Blumberg ’46, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine
1976 – John Hope Franklin, professor of history, University of Chicago
1975 – Albert B. Sabin, biomedical researcher, University of South Carolina
1974 – Dixy Lee Ray, chairman, Atomic Energy Commission
1973 – Howard Alan Simons ’51, managing editor, Washington Post
1972 – Ruth Marie Adams, president, Wellesley College
1971 – Ivan Boldizsar, editor, The New Hungarian Quarterly
1970 – John H. Knowles, director, Massachusetts General Hospital
1969 – Sen. Charles E. Goodell, R-N.Y.
1968 – Paul A. Freund, professor, Harvard University
1967 – Sen. Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania
1966 – Fred Pierce Corson, president, World Methodist Council; bishop of United Methodist Church Philadelphia
1965 – Paul Miller, president, Gannett Co., Inc.; president of the Associated Press
1964 – Leland John Haworth, director, National Science Foundation
1963 – Bernard Kilgore, president, Wall Street Journal
1962 – Edward Augustus Weeks, editor, Atlantic Monthly
1961 – Lee Alvin DuBridge, president, California Institute of Technology
1960 – Clarence Henry Faust, vice president, Ford Foundation
1959 – Fredrick Russell Kappel, president, AT&T
1958 – Alfred M. Gruenther, president, American Red Cross; supreme commander of NATO forces; WWII general
1957 – Herbert Brownell Jr., U.S. attorney general
1956 – Bruce Catton, editor, American Heritage magazine
1955 – Sir Percy Claude Spender, Australian ambassador to the U.S.
1954 – Irving Sands Olds, chairman, U.S. Steel
1953 – Thomas John Watson, chairman, IBM
1952 – Henry Knox Sherrill, presiding bishop, Episcopal Church of the U.S.; president, National Council of Churches
1951 – Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tenn.
1950 – Gov. Thomas E. Dewey of N.Y.
1949 – Charles Phelps Taft, U.S. director of economic affairs
1948 – John Foster Dulles, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
1947 – Gov. Earl Warren of Calif.
1946 – Sen. Albert Wahl Hawkes of N.J.
1945 – Rev. Samuel McCrea Cavert ’10,
1944 – Joseph W. Barker, dean, School of Engineering, Columbia University
1943 – Joseph Clark Grew, U.S. ambassador to Japan
1942 – Wendell Lewis Willkie, lawyer, former presidential candidate
1941 – Archibald MacLeish, poet, librarian, Library of Congress
1940 – Honorable Hu Shih, philosopher, poet, Chinese ambassador to the U.S.
1939 – Walter Sherman Gifford, president, AT&T
1938 – Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg, R-Mich.
1937 – Bernard M. Baruch, economist, advisor to President Roosevelt
1936 – George L. Kittredge, professor of English, Harvard University
1935 – Charles Austin Beard, historian
1934 – Irving Langmuir, 1933 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry
1933 – Walter Lippmann, special writer, N.Y. Herald Tribune
1932 – Sir Francis James Wylie, oxford secretary, Rhodes Trustees
1931 – Sir Arthur Currie, general; president, McGill University
1930 – John Van Antwerp MacMurray, chief, Far Eastern Division, U.S. State Department
1929 – Paul Claudel, French ambassador to the U.S.
1928 – Henry Fairfield Osborn, president, American Museum of Natural History
1927 – Sir Robert Alexander Falconer, president, University of Toronto
1926 – Franklin Henry Giddings ‘77, professor of sociology, Columbia University
1925 – Sir Esme Howard, English ambassador to the U.S.
1924 – Charles Henry Brent, bishop, Western N.Y.
1923 – George Alexander, minister, former Union professor of logic & rhetoric
1922 – William Sowden Sims, rear admiral, U.S. Navy
1921 – John William Davis, U.S. ambassador to Britain
1920 – Jean Adrian Antoine Jules Jusserand, French ambassador to the U.S.
1919 – John Van Schaick Jr. ’94, minister; representative to Holland, Rockefeller Foundation War Relief Commission
1918 – Robert Lansing, 27th secretary of state
1917 – William Howard Taft, former U.S. President
1916 – Myron T. Herrick, U.S. ambassador to France
1915 – Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, R-Mass.
1914 – Elihu Root, 1912 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; senator, R-N.Y.; U.S. secretary of war; U.S. secretary of state
1913 – Laurenus Clark Seelye ‘57, president emeritus (1873-1910), Smith College
1912 – William Milligan Sloane, professor of history, Columbia University
1911 – James Bryce, British ambassador to U.S.
1910 – Count Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff, German ambassador to U.S.
1909 – Joseph H. Choate, lawyer, former U.S. ambassador to Britain
1908 – Gov. Charles Evans Hughes of N.Y.; U.S. secretary of state; associate justice and chief justice of the U.S.
1907 – Sen. Joseph E. Ransdell ’82, D-La.
1906 – Mayor George B. McClelland of New York City
1905 – Laurenus Clark Seelye ‘57, president emeritus (1873-1910), Smith College
1904 – Rev. William Croswell Doane
1903 – Rev. William R. Huntington
1902 – David J. Hill, assistant secretary of state
1901 – Alton B. Parker, lawyer, chief judge, N.Y. Court of Appeals
1900 – Whitelaw Reid, former ambassador to France and England, vice-presidential candidate
1899 – Hamilton W. Mabie, author
1898 – Henry Van Dyke, professor of English, Princeton University
1897 – St. Clair McKelway, editor, Brooklyn Eagle newspaper; chancellor, N.Y. Board of Regents
1896 – George B. Peck, general council Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
1895 – Henry C. Potter, bishop, N.Y.
1894 – Sen. Joseph M. Carey ’67, of Wyoming
1893 – Pliny T. Sexton, banker, educator and philanthropist
1892 – General Daniel Butterfield ’49, composer of taps, U.S. Army
1891 – Charles T. Saxton, lieutenant-governor, N.Y.
1890 – William H. McElroy ’60, poet, editor, N.Y. Tribune and Post-Express
1889 – Charles Emery Smith ’61, editor, Philadelphia Press
1888 – Charles J. Noyes ’64, lawyer
1887 – Richard L. Hand ’58, lawyer; leader, Bar Association in northern N.Y
1886 – Sen. Warner Miller ’60 of N.Y.
1885 – David Murray, educational advisor, Meiji Dynasty in Japan
1884 – Henry Coppee, professor, Lehigh University
1883 – Richard S. Storrs, reverend, Brooklyn Heights
1882 – A.N. Littlejohn, bishop, Diocese Long Island
1881 – Alexander H. Rice, former congressman; governor, Mass.
1880 – John Welsh, U.S. ambassador to Britain
1879 – John K. Porter ’37, lawyer, judge, New York City
1878 – William Porcher Miles, congressman, S.C.
1877 – George William Curtis, N.Y. Board of Regents
1873-1876 – Various outside speakers (generally from Union University) and student speakers
1797-1872 – Student speakers
May 1, 1797 – First Commencement Ceremony (graduation class size: 3)