Oprah Winfrey to Speak at Harvard's 362nd Commencement

Seth Abramovitch
Oprah Winfrey to Speak at Harvard's 362nd Commencement

Oprah Winfrey has been named speaker at Harvard's 362nd commencement.

The OWN honcho, billed by The Harvard Crimson as a "media mogul and billionaire philanthropist," will address approximately 32,000 degree candidates, family members, faculty, alumni and guests at the outdoor Tercentenary Theater in Harvard Yard during the Afternoon Exercises of Commencement scheduled for May 30.

“Oprah’s journey from her grandmother’s Mississippi farm to becoming one of the world’s most admired women is one of the great American success stories,” Harvard president Drew G. Faust said in a press release. “She has used her extraordinary influence and reach as a force for good in the world, with a constant focus on the importance of educational opportunity and the virtues of serving others.”

The illustrious speaking engagement has been filled by some of the most influential figures of our time, including Al Gore (1994), Benazir Bhutto (1989), Bill Gates (2007) and J.K. Rowling (2008).

Winfrey has delivered commencement addresses before at Duke University and Stanford University, and last year spoke at Spelman College in Atlanta.

The commencement is preceded by Class Day, a less-formal assembly which usually enlists a high-profile speaker, as well. Last year brought Andy Samberg and Rep. Barney Frank, while the year prior had Amy PoehlerBill Clinton spoke at the 2007 Class Day.