Pitzer College announced this week that Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker will be this year’s commencement speaker. Other Claremont College speakers include Freeman A. Hrabowski III at Harvey Mudd, and Sue Monk Kidd at Scripps College.
Pitzer students selected Booker from a list of candidates that included actress Tina Fey, author bell hooks and musician Zack de la Rocha. Director of Instructional Events Andrea Olson said members of the senior class met several times throughout the fall to create the list of nine candidates. All members of the senior class then made the final decision via an online vote last week.
“Our students are greatly interested in Mayor Booker’s life work,” Olson said. “They believe his words would lend a distinct and inspiring perspective at this important juncture in their lives.”
Harvey Mudd’s speaker, Hrabowski, is a renowned African-American educator known for transforming the University of Maryland Baltimore County during his years as president of the college. To select their speaker, members of HMC’s senior class produced a list of potential choices, which Senior Class President Bryan Teague then presented to the president’s office. The list also included astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Dean of Students Maria Klawe then worked with seniors to narrow this list down and get in contact with the potential speakers. Klawe expressed excitement over this year’s speaker.
During Scripps’s selection process, members of the senior class were able to submit recommendations. After names were collected, two senior class representatives, along with the president’s office, worked to narrow the list down and get in contact with potential speakers. Kidd, who garnered attention for her popular novel The Secret Life of Bees, will co-deliver the speech with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor, who is also an author.
Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), graduated cum laude from CMC in 1972. CMC’s office of the president was not available for comment on their commencement speaker.
Pomona’s commencement speaker, which was announced over three weeks ago, will be Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.