Barack and Michelle Obama to Deliver Commencement Speeches to the Graduates of 2020
Millions of high school and college graduates will not have traditional graduations as in the past. That means they will not gather with their relatives and friends in a big auditorium to watch them walk across a stage when their names are called to receive their diplomas or degrees. They will not be able to shake hands with the leaders of their school and get deserved hugs from those who are proud of them.
Even though those things will be missing this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps having two of the best commencement speakers in the country will make this graduation season better to handle.
Dozens of Invitations
Former President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, that he and Michelle will be providing virtual commencement addresses for high school and college graduates beginning on May 16, 2020.
The Obamas are no strangers to delivering commencement addresses. They have had experience speaking about the value of education. In fact, education is one of the former first lady initiatives.
A 17-year-old high school graduate sent a special invitation to the former president. Lincoln Debenham of Eagle Rock High School tweeted, “In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice. We ask you to consider giving a national commencement speech to the class of 2020.”
The former president tweeted, "I’ve always loved joining commencements––the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones."
The former first lady tweeted, “Whether you’re graduating from high school, college, or any other kind of school — we want you, your family, and all of your loved ones to be a part of this celebration."
The Obamas' Three Commencement Addresses
Actually, the Obamas will deliver a total of three national commencement addresses for students who had their ceremonies canceled or postponed.
- Former President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students on May 16, 2020 at 2 p.m. This event will air on major networks and online.
- The commencement address to high school graduates will take place on May 16 at 8 p.m. during the “Graduate Together: High School Class of 2020 Commencement.” It will be a 1-hour ceremony airing on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and online platforms.
- A general commencement address will be given to all 2020 graduates on June 6 at 3 p.m. called Dear Class of 2020. The virtual commencement celebration is for graduates from high school, university, or any other schools. Both Barack and Michelle Obama will take part in this event which will stream live. The Obamas will deliver separate commencement addresses and a joint message to students.
The June 6 special will also feature appearances by celebrities like Lady Gaga, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Alphabet CEO Sundar Piachi, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and activist Malala Yousafzai.
Other Virtual Commencement Speakers
The Obamas are not the only celebrities who are delivering graduation speeches. YouTube is hosting an online graduation event with a list of commencement speakers. Other than the Obamas, the list includes Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, and Simone Biles K-pop sensation BTS, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Malala Yousafzai, Lady Gaga, and others.
Other celebrities will make special appearances and will perform. Some of them include Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington, Kelly Rowland, Zendaya, the Jonas Brothers, Megan Rapinoe, Pharrell Williams, and others will also participate in the Graduate Together event.
Other than being part of the combined virtual commencement ceremonies, others have given their own virtual addresses. They include Ellen DeGeneres, Steph Curry, and Tom Hanks.
You Are Invited
You do not have to be a graduate, a family member, or know someone who is graduating to attend any of the virtual commencement ceremonies. Feel free to attend one or all three of the events.
You probably would have been invited to in-person ceremonies if graduations had not been canceled because of COVID-19.