The Most Anticipated Commencement Speakers of 2013

We learned today that Oprah would be speaking at Harvard's commencement. Let's look at some of the most intriguing and most WTF options for 2013 commencement speakers. 

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Come May Oprah Winfrey will be gracing "HARVAAAAARD UNIVERSITYYYYY"—that's how we imagine she'll say it—to speak at the school's commencement exercises. Yes, it's almost graduation time already, which means schools are revealing who their distinguished guests on campus will be. Harvard scored big with Oprah, but how are other schools stacking up? Let's look at some of the most high profile, intriguing and WTF options.

Barack Obama

Nabbing the president is the big get of graduation season and three schools got Obama to speak at their ceremonies. Obama's going to Ohio StateMorehouse, and the U.S. Naval Academy this year, and will presumably tailor his speeches to the specifics of the schools. Morehouse, for instance, is a historically black school. We assume he'll talk military at the Naval Academy.

The Dalai Lama

If you can't get the president, how about the Dalai Lama? That's who's coming to Tulane's ceremony.


As we previously mentioned, Oprah's going to Harvard. We have to give it to those Cantabs, Oprah's pretty exciting. Check out her 2008 Standford address, and listen to the way she says "amazing." It sure will be.

Stephen Colbert

His University of Virginia  Valediction speech is bound to be good, right? Funny? On topic? Maybe poignant? Yeah, he's got this one.

Toni Morrison

The Beloved author will be sharing her wisdom with Vanderbilt. Literary folks tend to put their talents to good use in these situations. Look what Morrison came up with in 2011 at Rutgers.

The Mighty Mayors: Bloomberg and Booker

Yale and Stanford are going for big name mayors this year. Cory Booker will speak at Yale's Class Day and Michael Bloomberg will be the commencement speaker at Stanford. For Booker it's a chance to cement his hero status before his Senate run. For Bloomberg it's a farewell tour.

Julie Andrews

You would be lying to yourself if you said you didn't want Mary Poppins sending you off into the real world. The University of Colorado Boulder students are just that lucky.

Joss Whedon

Well, we'd honestly prefer to have Buffy the Vampire Slayer herself speak, her creator Joss Whedon—whose speech at Equality Now is worth a watch—might be good enough. He is going back to his alma mater, Wesleyan.

The Woz

U.C. Berkeley has Steve Wozniak speaking. Perhaps he'll criticize jOBS.

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Famed ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, a.k.a. "The Russian" from Sex and the City, is speaking at Northwestern. This would be better if he were dancing. Misha's still got it.

Sanya Richards-Ross

Her  WE tv reality show makes us wary, but that doesn't mean Olympic hero Sanya Richards-Ross won't be a good speaker for her alma mater the The University of Texas at Austin.

David Boreanaz

Yup, Wesleyan has Angel's creator speaking, whereas Ithaca College has Angel himself.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.