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Northwestern University

Speaking of Commencement

The dust has settled, the tents are down, and NU’s 2015 graduates are off to their fulfilling new jobs or a bit of relaxation, inspired by the words of this year’s commencement and convocation speakers. And the NU Archives has dutifully added the names of the speakers to an impressive list that commemorates 123 years’ worth of commencements. Since 1892, the list has included bishops, future US Presidents (Teddy Roosevelt, Barack Obama) and hopefuls (William Jennings Bryan, Dick Gephardt), representatives of art forms from comedy (Julia Louis Dreyfus, Stephen Colbert) to dance (Mikhail Baryshnikov),  at least two Supreme Court justices (John P. Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg)...and more.

And speaking further of commencement....the commencement programs from 1859-2013 have been digitized and are now online (through the Internet Archive) at

Note: Links to these resources, and to many more sites purveying aspects of NU History, are on the NU Archives website.

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