Notable 2014 Commencement Speakers in Washington

Who’s speaking at graduation this weekend, from newscasters to politicians.

By: Tanya Pai

Katie Couric is the commencement speaker at American University’s School of Communication. Photograph via s_bukley/Shutterstock

Many local colleges and universities are holding their graduation ceremonies this weekend, and just like cash-filled envelopes from relatives and someone showing up naked under their robe, big-name commencement speakers are a given. This year’s run the gamut from entertainers—such as Sean “Diddy (or is it Puff Daddy again?)” Combs, who addressed graduates and received an honorary doctorate at Howard University’s May 11 ceremony—to billionaires (David Rubenstein) to local politicians/possible presidential hopefuls (Martin O’Malley). Several schools’ websites will stream the remarks, in case you want to tune in. Hopefully none of these speakers will be quite as contested as the one planned for Rutgers University, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who withdrew from the engagement after student protests (though at least it wasn’t Snooki again). Did we miss someone? Let us know in the comments. 

American University
May 17
Katie Couric (whose new documentary, Fed Up, is now playing at E Street Cinema)
—School of Communication
Washington Week’s Gwen Ifill—School of Public Affairs
Crisis management expert Judy Smith (the inspiration for Scandal’s Olivia Pope)
—College of Law

Catholic University
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers

Georgetown University
May 17
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew—School of Public Policy
Former defense secretary Robert Gates—School of Foreign Service
Former AOL chairman Steve Case—School of Business

George Mason University
May 17
The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein


George Washington University
May 17
Chef José Andrés

Marymount University
May 18
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank


Trinity Washington University
May 17
DC Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson

University of Maryland
May 22
Maryland governor Martin O’Malley

University of Virginia
May 17
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning