Yale College Class Day Speakers Since 1979

Year Title Yale Affiliation Description Category
2019 Chimamanda Adichie 2008 M.A.; 2019 Litt.D. Novelist and Non-Fiction Writer Writing/Creative
2018 Hillary Rodham Clinton 1973 J.D.; 2009 LL.D. Former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Politics
2017 Theo Epstein YC 1995 Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Athletics
2016 Samantha Power YC 1992 Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations Politics
2015 Joseph Biden 47th Vice President of the United States Politics
2014 John Kerry YC 1966; 2017 LL.D. U.S. Secretary of State Politics
2013 Cory Booker 1997 J.D. Mayor of Newark, New Jersey Politics
2012 Barbara Walters Television Journalist Journalism
2011 Tom Hanks Actor Film/Drama/TV
2010 William Jefferson Clinton 1973 J.D. 42nd President of the United States Politics
2009 Christopher Buckley YC 1975 Author Writing/Creative
2008 Tony Blair Former Prime Minister (United Kingdom) Politics
2007 Fareed Zakaria YC 1986; 2006 M.A.H. Television Journalist Journalism
2006 Anderson Cooper YC 1989 Television Journalist Journalism
2005 Eleanor Holmes Norton 1963 M.A.; 1964 LL.B. Congresswoman (D-DC) Politics
2004 Ken Burns Filmmaker Film/Drama/TV
2003 Tom Friedman Journalist; Author Journalism
2002 George Pataki YC 1967 Governor of New York Politics
2001 Hillary Rodham Clinton 1973 J.D.; 2009 LL.D. U.S. Senator (D-NY) Politics
2000 Robert Woodward YC 1965 Journalist Journalism
1999 David Gergen YC 1963; 1996 M.A.H. Political Advisor; Journalist Journalism
1998 Tom Brokaw Journalist Journalism
1997 David McCullough YC 1955; 1998 Litt.D. Historian Academia
1996 Henry Winkler 1970 M.F.A. Actor; Director; Producer Film/Drama/TV
1995 Kurt Schmoke YC 1971 Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland Politics
1994 Sargent Shriver YC 1938; 1941 LL.B. Founder, Peace Corps; President, Special Olympics Service/Activism
1993 Jodie Foster YC 1984; 1987 D.F.A. Actress; Director Film/Drama/TV
1992 Calvin Trillin YC 1957; 1988 M.A.H. Author; Humorist Writing/Creative
1991 Garry Trudeau YC 1970; 1973 M.F.A.; 1976 L.H.D. Cartoonist Writing/Creative
1990 Marian Wright Edelman 1963 LL.B.; 1971 M.A.H. Founder, Children's Defense Fund Service/Activism
1989 Thomas Wolfe 1957 Ph.D. Author Writing/Creative
1988 Stephen Jay Gould Zoologist Academia
1987 Strobe Talbott YC 1968 News Columnist Journalism
1986 Andrew Young Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia; United Nations Ambassador Politics
1985 Paul Tsongas 1959 LL.B. U.S. Senator (D-MA) Politics
1984 Richard Cavett YC 1958 Television Personality Film/Drama/TV
1983 Betty Friedan Author; Founder, NOW Service/Activism
1982 John Glenn U.S. Senator (D-OH) Politics
1981 Carl Sagan Astronomer; Author Academia
1980 William Bradley U.S. Senator (D-NJ) Politics
1979 John Kenneth Galbraith Economist; Author Academia