Hillary Clinton to speak at graduation at MSG

Hillary Clinton (Photo by Gage Skidmore at

Hunter has secured quite the commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2019. At graduation on May 29, the commencement speech will be given by former secretary of state, senator from New York, first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Last spring, she gave the commencement address at Yale.

Clinton has a history with commencement speeches. When she graduated from Wellesley College in 1969, fellow students selected her as the college’s first-ever student commencement speaker. She made a fiery plea to her fellow students to take action against inequality across the country.

The graduation ceremony was moved from its normal location at Radio City Music Hall to the much larger Madison Square Garden, a move that seemingly was made in consideration of the larger crowds and considerable security that Clinton’s presence demands. Hunter Communications Coordinator Bob de Luna was evasive on the matter, saying that the move was made with the intention of allowing more guests in because graduation is “such an important day for our graduates,” but he did concede that “it is fortunate that we made the move because we will need the larger space to accommodate greater interest in attendance.”

Hunter has a history of notable commencement speakers, including journalist Soledad O’Brien and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, but Clinton is the school’s biggest get in a long time. De Luna said that in considering who to select as keynote speaker there is a “multi-part process” that includes the input of students, among other factors. “We work hard to try to find a speaker who will be highly memorable and inspirational to those attending commencement,” he said. “We couldn’t have been more thrilled when she graciously accepted our invitation.”

Hunter does not pay speaker fees, according to de Luna. Thus, the request to Clinton focused on the quality of students. “The caliber of Hunter students empowers us to make a strong pitch to a prospective speaker like Secretary Clinton,” he said.



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