Ten speakers are set to address students and families at the 2019 Georgetown University commencement ceremonies, including bestselling author Chimamanda Adichie, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama Tina Tchen and celebrity chef José Andrés.
The university announced the speakers in a statement May 3. Commencement ceremonies for the nine main campus undergraduate and graduate schools are set to take place over four days, starting with the senior convocation May 16 and concluding with the Georgetown Law School commencement May 19.
Andrés will address the McCourt School of Public Policy on May 16, Tchen will address the School of Continuing Studies on May 17 and Adichie will address Georgetown College graduates May 18.
The McCourt School is excited to welcome Andrés as commencement speaker following his recent efforts to alleviate hunger in countries around the world, according to Maria Cancian, the school’s dean.
“Mr. Andrés and World Central Kitchen have had an important impact on how we think about and provide disaster relief,” Cancian wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Learning about his journey from chef to humanitarian will be an inspirational capstone for our students as they finish their studies here at Georgetown and move forward with their own careers as change-makers.”
Among the speakers for the other main undergraduate schools is Joseph Baratta (GSB ’93), global head of private equity at the asset management company Blackstone, who will speak at the McDonough School of Business commencement May 17. Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state and Georgetown professor, will address the School of Foreign Service during its ceremonies May 18. Joan Rosenhauer, the executive director of humanitarian organization Jesuit Refugee Service, will address the School of Nursing and Health Studies on May 18.
The Georgetown undergraduate and professional schools select their speakers independently, according to university spokesperson Rachel Pugh.
“Each program and school is responsible for obtaining its own speaker. The process for doing this varies across schools, ultimately nominations go to the Deans, who send them to the Board of Directors for approval,” Pugh wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Other commencement weekend speakers include Mark Humayun (CAS ’84), a University of Southern California professor of ophthalmology, who will address the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences on May 17. Susan Hingle, the associate dean for human and organizational potential at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, will speak at the School of Medicine commencement May 19.
As has occurred in previous years, Georgetown Law graduates will hear from two speakers at their commencement May 19. Barbara Underwood (LAW ’69), the solicitor general of New York, and Emmet Sullivan, a district judge for Washington, D.C., will both address students.
Aside from the main campus commencement ceremonies, Georgetown’s campus in Doha, Qatar, will also hold its own commencement ceremonies next week. Her Excellency Ambassador Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani, the permanent representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, will address Georgetown University in Qatar graduates May 9.
The Georgetown University Facebook page will livestream the commencement ceremonies from May 16 to 19.
The 2019 commencement speakers will provide Georgetown graduates with messages to motivate their future endeavors, according to an interview with University President John DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) on the university website.
“We are honored to welcome an extraordinary group of individuals to campus to share their reflections with our graduating students this May,” DeGioia said. “As our students embark on their own paths, seeking to make an impact on our world, we are deeply grateful for the inspiration and powerful example provided by these remarkable individuals.”