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[[Commencement]] speakers at [[William & Mary]] have included a variety of individuals including alumni, [[presidents]] of the College, [[students]], professors, politicians, journalists, entertainers, royalty, and many others. Speakers usually are awarded an [[honorary degree]].
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! style="background:#228844" |A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
 
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| |Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fire, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the SCRC's collections and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the SCRC's [http://swem.wm.edu/scrc/Tools.cfm access tools] for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.
 
|}
 
 
 
[[Commencement]] speakers at the [[College of William and Mary]] have included a variety of individuals including alumni, presidents of the College, students, professors, politicians, journalists, entertainers, royalty, and many others.  
 
  
 
==18th Century==
 
==18th Century==
Line 16: Line 9:
 
1831-1858 Speakers on various subjects  
 
1831-1858 Speakers on various subjects  
  
1859 Oration by Hugh Blair Grigsby, Esq.
+
1859 Oration by [[Hugh Blair Grigsby]], Esq.
 
 
1860 Oration by Thomas Jefferson Stubbs, A.B., of  Gloucester
+
1860 Oration by [[Thomas Jefferson Stubbs]], A.B., of  Gloucester
  
 
Address to the Students by James Lyons, Esquire, of Richmond
 
Address to the Students by James Lyons, Esquire, of Richmond
  
 
1875 Address before the Alumni by Rev. A.M. Randolph, A.M.
 
1875 Address before the Alumni by Rev. A.M. Randolph, A.M.
 +
 +
Address to the Students by Charles Selden Scott of Powhatan and John Allen Watts of Roanoke
  
 
1876 Address by Rev. O. Sievers Barten, O.D., Rector of Christ Church, Norfolk, VA
 
1876 Address by Rev. O. Sievers Barten, O.D., Rector of Christ Church, Norfolk, VA
  
1889 Address before the Alumni by Beverley B. Munford of Virginia
+
1889 Address before the Alumni by [[Beverley B. Munford]] of Virginia
  
1890-1896 Speeches given by various literary societies
+
1890-1896 Speeches given by various [[literary societies]]
  
1897 Oration before the two literary societies by Hon. Samuel W. Williams of Wytheville, VA
+
1897 Oration before the two [[literary societies]] by Hon. Samuel W. Williams of Wytheville, VA
 
 
 
1898 Hon. Joseph E. Willard of Fairfax, VA
 
1898 Hon. Joseph E. Willard of Fairfax, VA
  
1899 Hon. M. E. Ingalls of Cincinatti, OH
+
1899 Hon. M. E. Ingalls of Cincinnati, OH
  
 
==20th Century==
 
==20th Century==
Line 62: Line 57:
 
1918 Clarence Hodson of New York, NY
 
1918 Clarence Hodson of New York, NY
  
1919 George Bryan
+
1919 George Bryan;
Farewell Address by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, M.A., LL.D.
+
Farewell Address by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, M.A., LL.D., President of the College (1888-1919); Baccalaureate sermon by Rev. C. Braxton Bryan, D.D.; Alumni Address by Hon. S. Otis Bland
President of the College (1888-1919)
 
  
 
1920 Dr. William M. Davidson
 
1920 Dr. William M. Davidson
Line 78: Line 72:
 
1925 Dr. George D. Srayer
 
1925 Dr. George D. Srayer
  
1926 Robert Henry Tucker
+
1926 [[Robert Henry Tucker]]
  
 
1927 Dr. J. C. Metcalf, University of Virginia
 
1927 Dr. J. C. Metcalf, University of Virginia
Line 106: Line 100:
 
1939 Hon. Francis Bowes Sayre
 
1939 Hon. Francis Bowes Sayre
  
1940 Charles Edward Wilson, Esquire
+
1940 Charles Edward Wilson, Esquire, President of General Electric
  
 
1941 General George Catlett Marshall, U.S.A.
 
1941 General George Catlett Marshall, U.S.A.
Line 132: Line 126:
  
 
===1950===
 
===1950===
1950 Dudley Warner Woodbridge, J.D.,  
+
1950 [[Dudley Warner Woodbridge]], J.D., Chancellor Professor of Jurisprudence and Acting Dean of the [[Department of Jurisprudence]]
Chancellor Professor of Jurisprudence and Acting Dean of the Department of Jurisprudence
 
  
 
1951 The Honorable Paul Howard Douglas, A.M., Ph.D., U.S. Senator from Illinois
 
1951 The Honorable Paul Howard Douglas, A.M., Ph.D., U.S. Senator from Illinois
Line 173: Line 166:
 
Secretary of the Treasury
 
Secretary of the Treasury
  
1967 Robert D. Calkins, Ph.D., President of the Bookings Institution
+
1967 Robert D. Calkins, Ph.D., President of the Brookings Institution
  
 
1968 Hon. Gerald R. Ford, LL.D., U.S. Representative from Michigan
 
1968 Hon. Gerald R. Ford, LL.D., U.S. Representative from Michigan
  
1969 No speaker
+
1969 In order to shorten commencement ceremony down to 2 1/2 hours, the senior class was asked to choose between having a graduation speaker or individual degree conferment.  The class voted to not have a speaker. (Flat Hat 3/7/1969 pg.1; Alumni Gazette Oct.1969 pg10)
  
 
1970 Hon. Edmund S. Muskie, LL.B., U.S. Senator from Maine
 
1970 Hon. Edmund S. Muskie, LL.B., U.S. Senator from Maine
Line 195: Line 188:
 
1977 Hon. William H. Rehnquist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
 
1977 Hon. William H. Rehnquist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
  
1978 Dr. J. Wade Gilley, Virginia Secretary of Education
+
1978 Rep. Barbara Jordan, member of the United States Congress
 +
 
 +
1978 August 19 (Summer Session)  Dr. J. Wade Gilley, Virginia Secretary of Education
  
 
1979 Jeffrey Kenneth MacNelly, cartoonist
 
1979 Jeffrey Kenneth MacNelly, cartoonist
Line 209: Line 204:
 
1984 Hon. Paul A. Volcker, Chairman, Federal Reserve Board
 
1984 Hon. Paul A. Volcker, Chairman, Federal Reserve Board
  
1985 Commodore Grace Murray Hopper, United States Navy
+
1985 Commodore [[Grace Murray Hopper]], United States Navy
  
 
1986 Hon. Jeane Duane Jordan Kirkpatrick,
 
1986 Hon. Jeane Duane Jordan Kirkpatrick,
Line 217: Line 212:
 
The MacNeil/Lehrer Report
 
The MacNeil/Lehrer Report
  
1988 Colin Luther Powell, Lieutenant General U.S.A.,
+
1988 Colin L. Powell, Lieutenant General U.S.A., Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (later Secretary of State)
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
 
  
1989 Glenn Close, class of ’74, actress
+
1989 [[Glenn Close]], class of 1974, actress
  
 
1990 Lawrence Douglas Wilder, Governor of Virginia
 
1990 Lawrence Douglas Wilder, Governor of Virginia
Line 226: Line 220:
 
1991 Hanna Holborn Gray, President, University of Chicago
 
1991 Hanna Holborn Gray, President, University of Chicago
  
1992 Hon. James A. Baker III, Secretary of State
+
1992 Hon. James A. Baker III, Secretary of State; video is available from [http://www.yidio.com/college-of-william-and-mary-commencement/id/313522353 C-SPAN]
  
 
1993 William H. Cosby, Jr., humorist, author, educator, actor
 
1993 William H. Cosby, Jr., humorist, author, educator, actor
Line 234: Line 228:
 
1995 Hon. George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
 
1995 Hon. George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
  
1996 Hon. Antonin Scalia, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. One of [[Honorary degree recipients]] at 1991 [[Commencement]]. See also [[University Archives Subject Headings]] under V to C--Scalia, Anthony.  
+
1996 Hon. Antonin Scalia, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. One of [[Honorary degree recipients]] at 1991 [[Commencement]]. See also University Archives Subject Headings under V to C--Scalia, Antonin.  
  
1997 Margaret, The Lady Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Chancellor of the College
+
1997 [[Margaret, The Lady Thatcher]], former Prime Minister of Great Britain, [[Chancellor]] of the College of William and Mary
  
1998 Joseph J. Ellis, class of ’65, historian
+
1998 Joseph J. Ellis, class of 1965, historian
  
 
1999 John W. Warner, United States Senator
 
1999 John W. Warner, United States Senator
Line 246: Line 240:
 
2000 Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor
 
2000 Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor
  
2001 John Stewart Bryan II, Chairman, President, and CEO of Media General
+
2001 John Stewart Bryan II, Chairman, President, and CEO of Media General; Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State (1997-2001) gave the Pamela Harriman address.
  
 
2002 A. Lamar Alexander,  public servant, educator, businessman, Former U.S. Secretary of Education, Former Governor of Tennessee,  Goodman Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Service Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
 
2002 A. Lamar Alexander,  public servant, educator, businessman, Former U.S. Secretary of Education, Former Governor of Tennessee,  Goodman Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Service Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
Line 252: Line 246:
 
2003 Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, international negotiator, advocate for democracy and peace, active patron of many national institutions in Jordan, chair of the King Hussein Foundation established in 1999
 
2003 Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, international negotiator, advocate for democracy and peace, active patron of many national institutions in Jordan, chair of the King Hussein Foundation established in 1999
  
2004 Jon Stewart, class of 1984, host and executive producer of Comedy Central’s counterfeit newscast “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
+
2004 [[Jon Stewart]], class of 1984, host and executive producer of Comedy Central’s counterfeit newscast “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
  
2005 Timothy J. Sullivan, class of 1966, 25th president of the College of William and Mary
+
2005 [[Timothy J. Sullivan]], class of 1966, 25th president of the College of William and Mary
  
 
2006 Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, cleric, author, teacher, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate                           
 
2006 Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, cleric, author, teacher, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate                           
 
          
 
          
2007 Robert M. Gates, class of 1965, U.S. Secretary of Defense; Law School Commencement: Judge D. Brooks Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Baccalaureate service: Rev. William H. Willimon, Bishop of the United Methodist Church and a nationally known pastor and author
+
2007 [[Robert M. Gates]], class of 1965, U.S. Secretary of Defense; Law School Commencement: Judge D. Brooks Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Baccalaureate service: Rev. William H. Willimon, Bishop of the United Methodist Church and a nationally known pastor and author
  
 
2008  Mike Tomlin, Class of 1995, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach; Law School Commencement: Sandra Day O'Connor, Chancellor of the College of William and Mary (2005- ), Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
 
2008  Mike Tomlin, Class of 1995, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach; Law School Commencement: Sandra Day O'Connor, Chancellor of the College of William and Mary (2005- ), Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
  
 
2009  Tom Brokaw, journalist and writer, former ''Today Show'' anchor, former ''NBC Nightly News'' anchor
 
2009  Tom Brokaw, journalist and writer, former ''Today Show'' anchor, former ''NBC Nightly News'' anchor
 +
 +
2010  Christina (Duckworth) Romer, Class of 1981, Economist, Chair of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers (2009-2010)
 +
 +
2011  [[Joseph J Plumeri]], Class of 1966, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings
 +
 +
2012  Jim Lehrer, Journalist and Broadcaster; Law School Commencement: Judge John Charles Thomas, Former Virginia Supreme Court Justice.
 +
 +
2013  Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the FBI, 2001-2013, lawyer and United States attorney.
 +
 +
2014  Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor recipient. He was awarded the US military's highest honor for saving the lives of two fellow Army Rangers in Afghanistan, an action that cost Petry his right hand.
 +
 +
2015  Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State 2005-2009
 +
 +
2016  Jill Ellis '88, Head Coach of the World Cup-winning U. S. Women's National Soccer Team
 +
 +
2017  Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, former chairman and CEO of CNN
 +
 +
2018  Mark Warner, U. S. Senator, former Governor of Virginia
 +
 +
==Student Commencement Speakers==
 +
The earliest known commencement at which students spoke was the 1792 edition, in which all of the graduating students gave speeches. Before the Civil War, typically most of the graduating students would give a speech at commencement, such as at the 1831, 1857, 1858, and 1860 commencements, for which the Swem SCRC has programs. After the [[Civil War]], the College's two literary societies, the [[Phoenix Literary Society]] and the [[Philomathean Literary Society]], were founded. Student speakers typically spoke at their celebrations, typically held a few days prior to the actual commencement. The last of these literary society celebrations seems to have occurred in 1927.
 +
 +
The first student to give a valedictory address during the official commencement was Robert Beason in 1970. The two subsequent years did not feature a student speaker, but there has been one in every commencement since 1973.
 +
 +
1970 Robert Beason
 +
 +
1973 Donald A. Purdy, Jr.
 +
 +
1974 Craig T. Cornwell
 +
 +
1975 James Van Istendal Black
 +
 +
1976 Nancy Carroll Turrentine
 +
 +
1977 Margaret Louise Rollings
 +
 +
1978 Christopher D. Kelly
 +
 +
1979 Margaret A. Nelson
 +
 +
1980 Suzanne W. Doggett
 +
 +
1981 Robert E. Wagner, Jr.
 +
 +
1982 Warren Thomas Prince
 +
 +
1983 David A. Price
 +
 +
1984 Paul C. Kuhnel
 +
 +
1985 Lisa Lindsey Willis
 +
 +
1986 Scott John Ward
 +
 +
1987 Christopher Lee Foote
 +
 +
1988 Rebecca Brooks Edwards
 +
 +
1989 Patricia Maureen Stevenson
 +
 +
1990 James E. Low
 +
 +
1991 Eric V. Hall
 +
 +
1992 Susan Eleanor Brown
 +
 +
1993 James W. Wildman, Jr.
 +
 +
1994 Denzel J. Hankinson
 +
 +
1995 Judith Karen Lorimer
 +
 +
1996 Nicole Monique Woods
 +
 +
1997 Jason Christoper Schemmell
 +
 +
1998 Chad Michael Carr
 +
 +
1999 Laura Ellen Pinnow
 +
 +
2000 James Daniel Finn
 +
 +
2001 Lauren Page Morgan
 +
 +
2002 Alexander Nicholas Pyke
 +
 +
2003 Christian Frederick Hennel
 +
 +
2004 Adam David Stackhouse
 +
 +
2005 Benjamin David Kimble
 +
 +
2006 Matthew William Scranton
 +
 +
2007 Elizabeth Hope Derby
 +
 +
2008 Joshua L. Lovell
 +
 +
2009 Justin Schoonmaker
 +
 +
2010 Joshua Andrew Goldman
 +
 +
2011 Kalyani Hemant Phansalkar
 +
 +
2012 Danielle Marie Greene
 +
 +
2013 Devin Braun
 +
 +
{{helpmsg}}
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{{infodisclaimer}}
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[[Category:College Stub]][[Category:College Traditions]][[Category:Ref]]

Latest revision as of 16:45, 9 September 2019

Commencement speakers at William & Mary have included a variety of individuals including alumni, presidents of the College, students, professors, politicians, journalists, entertainers, royalty, and many others. Speakers usually are awarded an honorary degree.

18th Century

1792

1792 All of the graduates gave speeches

19th Century

1831

1831-1858 Speakers on various subjects

1859 Oration by Hugh Blair Grigsby, Esq.

1860 Oration by Thomas Jefferson Stubbs, A.B., of Gloucester

Address to the Students by James Lyons, Esquire, of Richmond

1875 Address before the Alumni by Rev. A.M. Randolph, A.M.

Address to the Students by Charles Selden Scott of Powhatan and John Allen Watts of Roanoke

1876 Address by Rev. O. Sievers Barten, O.D., Rector of Christ Church, Norfolk, VA

1889 Address before the Alumni by Beverley B. Munford of Virginia

1890-1896 Speeches given by various literary societies

1897 Oration before the two literary societies by Hon. Samuel W. Williams of Wytheville, VA

1898 Hon. Joseph E. Willard of Fairfax, VA

1899 Hon. M. E. Ingalls of Cincinnati, OH

20th Century

1900

1900 Hon. E. W. Saunders of Rocky Mount, VA

1901 Hon. Carter Glass of Lynchburg, VA

1909 Edward Hagaman Hall, Ph.D. of New York, NY

Phillip Alexander Bruce, LL.D. of Norfolk, VA

1911 Baccalaureate Address by Bishop Randolph

Address to Graduates by Rt. Rev. Alfred Magill Randolph, D.D., LL.D. Class of ’54

1912 Address to Graduates by James Brown Scott, LL.D.

1913 Samuel Black McCormick, LL.D.

1914 Baccalaureate Address by Howard B. Bayne

1915 Clarence W. Bowen, Ph.D.

1916 Hon. Martin W. Williams

1918 Clarence Hodson of New York, NY

1919 George Bryan; Farewell Address by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, M.A., LL.D., President of the College (1888-1919); Baccalaureate sermon by Rev. C. Braxton Bryan, D.D.; Alumni Address by Hon. S. Otis Bland

1920 Dr. William M. Davidson

1921 Don Carlos Seitz

1922 Hon. Harris Hart

1923 Frank O. Lowden, former Governor of Illinois

1924 Dice Robins Anderson

1925 Dr. George D. Srayer

1926 Robert Henry Tucker

1927 Dr. J. C. Metcalf, University of Virginia

1928 Dr. William T. Sanger, Medical College of Virginia

1929 Frank P. Graves, Commissioner of Education, State of New York

1930 Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, President of the National Geographic Society of America, Washington, D.C.

1931 Baccalaureate Address by James Southall Wilson

1932 Hon. John R. Saunders

1933 Robert M. Hughes

1934 Cordell Hull, Secretary of State

1935 Hon. Harry Flood Byrd, United States Senator from Virginia

1936 Douglas Southall Freeman, Ph.D., LL.D.

1937 Hon. E. Lee Trinkle

1938 Hon. C. Vernon Spratley, A.B., B.L.

1939 Hon. Francis Bowes Sayre

1940 Charles Edward Wilson, Esquire, President of General Electric

1941 General George Catlett Marshall, U.S.A.

1942 Admiral Ernest Joseph King, U.S.N.

1943 William O. Douglas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

1944 Graves Glenwood Clark, LL.B., A.B., A.M. Associate Professor of English

1945 Henry Irving Willett, B.A., M.A. Superintendent of Schools, Norfolk County

1946 Hon. Colgate W. Darden, Jr., M.A., LL.B.

1947 James Wilkinson Miller, Ph.D. Chancellor Professor of Philosophy

1948 Hon. Leverett Saltonstall, A.B., LL.B., LL.D. United States Senator from Massachusettes

1949 Vice Admiral John Leslie Hall, Jr. Commandant, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA

1950

1950 Dudley Warner Woodbridge, J.D., Chancellor Professor of Jurisprudence and Acting Dean of the Department of Jurisprudence

1951 The Honorable Paul Howard Douglas, A.M., Ph.D., U.S. Senator from Illinois

1952 Frederick D.G. Ribble, M.A., LL.M., Jur.Sc.D., LL.D., Professor of Law and Dean of the Department of Law University of Virginia

1953 William T. Sanger, Ph.D., LL.D., L.H.D., President of the Medical College of Virginia

1954 Rev. John Jacob Scherer, Jr., A.B., B.D., D.D., Pastor, First English Lutheran Church, Richmond, VA

1955 General Carlos P. Romulo, A.B., A.M., LL.D., Ph.D., (Hon.), Litt.D. Special and Personal Envoy of the President of the Philippines to the U.S.

1956 Hon. A. Willis Robertson, B.A., LL.B., LL.D., United States Senator from Virginia

1957 Sir Pierson Dixon, K.C.M.G., C.B., LL.D., D.H.L., Delegate to the United Kingdom to the United Nations

1958 Dabney S. Lancaster, M.S., LL.D. Chairman, State Council of Higher Education, President-Emeritus of Longwood College

1959 James Lindsay Almond, Jr., Governor of Virginia

1960 Gaylord P. Harnwell, Ph.D., President, University of Pennsylvania

1961 Winthrop Rockefeller, L.H.D. Chairman of the Boards of Colonial Williamsburg

1962 Lucius D. Battle, B.A., LL.B. Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs

1963 Baccalaureate Address by R.O. Nelson Superintendent of Schools, Newport News

1964 William H. McFarlane, Director, Virginia Associated Research Center

1965 Senator A. Willis Robertson, U.S. Senator from Virginia; Baccalaureate Address by Dr. Howard Bryant, Regional Representative, Bureau of Higher Education United States Office of Education

1966 Hon. Henry H. Fowler, J.S.D. Secretary of the Treasury

1967 Robert D. Calkins, Ph.D., President of the Brookings Institution

1968 Hon. Gerald R. Ford, LL.D., U.S. Representative from Michigan

1969 In order to shorten commencement ceremony down to 2 1/2 hours, the senior class was asked to choose between having a graduation speaker or individual degree conferment. The class voted to not have a speaker. (Flat Hat 3/7/1969 pg.1; Alumni Gazette Oct.1969 pg10)

1970 Hon. Edmund S. Muskie, LL.B., U.S. Senator from Maine

1971 Hon. Thomas Nelms Downing, LL.B., Member of Congress First District of Virginia

1972 Ralph W. Ellison, Ph.D., Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities New York University

1973 Hon. Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States

1974 Walter Muir Whitehill

1975 Kingman Brewster, Jr.

1976 Forrest David Mathews

1977 Hon. William H. Rehnquist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

1978 Rep. Barbara Jordan, member of the United States Congress

1978 August 19 (Summer Session) Dr. J. Wade Gilley, Virginia Secretary of Education

1979 Jeffrey Kenneth MacNelly, cartoonist

1980 Art Buchwald, humorist and author

1981 William F. Buckley, Jr., columnist, author, and editor

1982 Garry B. Trudeau, cartoonist

1983 Hon. Elizabeth H. Dole, Secretary of Transportation

1984 Hon. Paul A. Volcker, Chairman, Federal Reserve Board

1985 Commodore Grace Murray Hopper, United States Navy

1986 Hon. Jeane Duane Jordan Kirkpatrick, former Ambassador to the United Nations

1987 Roger H. Mudd, Special Correspondent and Essayist, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report

1988 Colin L. Powell, Lieutenant General U.S.A., Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (later Secretary of State)

1989 Glenn Close, class of 1974, actress

1990 Lawrence Douglas Wilder, Governor of Virginia

1991 Hanna Holborn Gray, President, University of Chicago

1992 Hon. James A. Baker III, Secretary of State; video is available from C-SPAN

1993 William H. Cosby, Jr., humorist, author, educator, actor

1994 George Will, Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist

1995 Hon. George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States

1996 Hon. Antonin Scalia, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. One of Honorary degree recipients at 1991 Commencement. See also University Archives Subject Headings under V to C--Scalia, Antonin.

1997 Margaret, The Lady Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Chancellor of the College of William and Mary

1998 Joseph J. Ellis, class of 1965, historian

1999 John W. Warner, United States Senator

21st Century

2000

2000 Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor

2001 John Stewart Bryan II, Chairman, President, and CEO of Media General; Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State (1997-2001) gave the Pamela Harriman address.

2002 A. Lamar Alexander, public servant, educator, businessman, Former U.S. Secretary of Education, Former Governor of Tennessee, Goodman Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Service Harvard University Kennedy School of Government

2003 Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, international negotiator, advocate for democracy and peace, active patron of many national institutions in Jordan, chair of the King Hussein Foundation established in 1999

2004 Jon Stewart, class of 1984, host and executive producer of Comedy Central’s counterfeit newscast “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

2005 Timothy J. Sullivan, class of 1966, 25th president of the College of William and Mary

2006 Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, cleric, author, teacher, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

2007 Robert M. Gates, class of 1965, U.S. Secretary of Defense; Law School Commencement: Judge D. Brooks Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Baccalaureate service: Rev. William H. Willimon, Bishop of the United Methodist Church and a nationally known pastor and author

2008 Mike Tomlin, Class of 1995, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach; Law School Commencement: Sandra Day O'Connor, Chancellor of the College of William and Mary (2005- ), Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court

2009 Tom Brokaw, journalist and writer, former Today Show anchor, former NBC Nightly News anchor

2010 Christina (Duckworth) Romer, Class of 1981, Economist, Chair of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers (2009-2010)

2011 Joseph J Plumeri, Class of 1966, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings

2012 Jim Lehrer, Journalist and Broadcaster; Law School Commencement: Judge John Charles Thomas, Former Virginia Supreme Court Justice.

2013 Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the FBI, 2001-2013, lawyer and United States attorney.

2014 Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor recipient. He was awarded the US military's highest honor for saving the lives of two fellow Army Rangers in Afghanistan, an action that cost Petry his right hand.

2015 Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State 2005-2009

2016 Jill Ellis '88, Head Coach of the World Cup-winning U. S. Women's National Soccer Team

2017 Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, former chairman and CEO of CNN

2018 Mark Warner, U. S. Senator, former Governor of Virginia

Student Commencement Speakers

The earliest known commencement at which students spoke was the 1792 edition, in which all of the graduating students gave speeches. Before the Civil War, typically most of the graduating students would give a speech at commencement, such as at the 1831, 1857, 1858, and 1860 commencements, for which the Swem SCRC has programs. After the Civil War, the College's two literary societies, the Phoenix Literary Society and the Philomathean Literary Society, were founded. Student speakers typically spoke at their celebrations, typically held a few days prior to the actual commencement. The last of these literary society celebrations seems to have occurred in 1927.

The first student to give a valedictory address during the official commencement was Robert Beason in 1970. The two subsequent years did not feature a student speaker, but there has been one in every commencement since 1973.

1970 Robert Beason

1973 Donald A. Purdy, Jr.

1974 Craig T. Cornwell

1975 James Van Istendal Black

1976 Nancy Carroll Turrentine

1977 Margaret Louise Rollings

1978 Christopher D. Kelly

1979 Margaret A. Nelson

1980 Suzanne W. Doggett

1981 Robert E. Wagner, Jr.

1982 Warren Thomas Prince

1983 David A. Price

1984 Paul C. Kuhnel

1985 Lisa Lindsey Willis

1986 Scott John Ward

1987 Christopher Lee Foote

1988 Rebecca Brooks Edwards

1989 Patricia Maureen Stevenson

1990 James E. Low

1991 Eric V. Hall

1992 Susan Eleanor Brown

1993 James W. Wildman, Jr.

1994 Denzel J. Hankinson

1995 Judith Karen Lorimer

1996 Nicole Monique Woods

1997 Jason Christoper Schemmell

1998 Chad Michael Carr

1999 Laura Ellen Pinnow

2000 James Daniel Finn

2001 Lauren Page Morgan

2002 Alexander Nicholas Pyke

2003 Christian Frederick Hennel

2004 Adam David Stackhouse

2005 Benjamin David Kimble

2006 Matthew William Scranton

2007 Elizabeth Hope Derby

2008 Joshua L. Lovell

2009 Justin Schoonmaker

2010 Joshua Andrew Goldman

2011 Kalyani Hemant Phansalkar

2012 Danielle Marie Greene

2013 Devin Braun


Need help?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for an overview of the Special Collections Database, W&M Digital Archive, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, card catalogs, and other tools available to help you find material of interest in William & Mary Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

Questions? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at spcoll@wm.edu or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at William & Mary.

A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.