Academic Affairs

Past Speakers

2018: Stephen C. Ainlay, President, Union College

2017: John E. Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University and NYU's Benjamin Butler Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus

2016: Gov. Charlie Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

2015: Devin Wenig '88, Chief Executive Officer and President of eBay

2014: Ambassador Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

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, Chair, 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., Chair, 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, Chair, 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, Chair, U.S. Steel

1953: Thomas John Watson, Chair, 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 United Nations

1947: Gov. Earl Warren of California

1946: Sen. Albert Wahl Hawkes of New Jersey

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, adviser 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 adviser, 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)