The Coolest Commencement Speakers of 2012

Despite what some may say, graduation is about more than just wearing a cap and gown and taking home a piece of paper. Getting the chance to let your family and friends witness the result of four years worth of hard work is exhilarating as you begin your adventure into the real world. Add to that the often inspiring and heartwarming speeches during the ceremony, and you’ve got memories to last a lifetime. Her Campus is here to clue you in on the ten most interesting commencement speakers of 2012. Is there still time to transfer schools?

Barnard CollegeBarack Obama

This all-women’s school is lucky enough to see President Obama’s name on their programs as commencement speaker this year. There have been questions raised about whether or not this was purely a political move in a time when women’s rights is taking center stage in the upcoming election, since New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson had been previously scheduled to deliver the address. Nevertheless the President, a former Columbia grad, will return to his roots as he delivers Barnard’s keynote address on Columbia University’s South Lawn.

Oregon State University – Michelle Obama
The President’s lovely wife will be speaking at Oregon State University this June, the same school where her brother coaches the men’s basketball team. The White House has said that besides the family connection the FLOTUS was drawn to OSU because of “their efforts to promote healthy communities by organizing large-scale food donation drives.” She has worked tirelessly to raise awareness on childhood obesity, and is regularly heard speaking about the importance of healthy eating.

Smith College – Jane Lynch
Who wouldn’t want Sue Sylvester up on the podium during their graduation ceremony? This Glee superstar is known for her quick wit and aggressive tactics onscreen, and is just as fiery in real life, as evidenced by her lively performance as host of last year’s Emmy’s. Not only is any speech delivered by Lynch guaranteed to be hilarious, but her A-list status is sure to fill seats and the campus reportedly went crazy when they found out they would be getting Lynch on their big day.

Rochester Institute of Technology – Bill Nye the Science Guy
As the generation that grew up with Bill Nye the Science Guy, it’s hard not to be a little jealous of RIT’s lucky pick. He’s already been on the campus in 2008 for a Distinguished Speakers Series, so students can welcome back their favorite television science teacher with open arms.

Babson College – Founding President and CEO of the Nike Foundation Maria Eitel and LinkedIn Executive Chairman Reid Hoffman
Eitel and Hoffman will be speaking at both undergraduate and graduate ceremonies at Babson over a course of two days in Massachusetts. Graduates will also receive a copy of Hoffman’s most recent book, The Start-Up of You, on how to build a career from Silicon Valley’s most successful engineers. Hoffman is known for his strong feelings on the importance of entrepreneurship and technology, and is actively involved in multiple start-ups. Eitel has long advocated a message of girl power and the amazing things that women can achieve when given the opportunity.

Jessica Salerno is a senior Magazine Journalism major at Ohio University and originally from Westerville, Ohio. In addition to writing for Her Campus Jessica also writes for the Her Campus Ohio University Branch and plays club soccer. She has an obsession with online shopping and candy, and loves to hang out with her family. Jessica hopes one day to have a career in online or magazine journalism.

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