2016 Commencement Speakers Announced

THE HUFFINGTON POST Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will be one of 11 speakers to address graduates during Georgetown's commencement weekend.

THE HUFFINGTON POST
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will be one of 11 speakers to address graduates during Georgetown’s commencement weekend.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Alexandra Cousteau (COL ’98), an explorer, storyteller and environmental advocate; Humana, Inc. President and CEO Bruce Broussard; National League for Nursing CEO Beverly Malone; and United States Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith will be among 11 speakers to address graduates during Georgetown’s commencement weekend from May 19 to May 22, the university announced today.

Each school will have a separate graduation, beginning with the McCourt School of Public Policy on May 19 and ending with the Georgetown University Law Center on May 22.

In a statement on the university website, University President John J. DeGioia said the speakers represent excellence in a variety of fields.

“These women and men represent the very best of their respective fields, animating our commitment to leadership through service,” DeGioia wrote. “We look forward to the ways in which their insights and experiences will offer inspiration to our graduates as they embark on their own paths, seeking to make an impact on our world.”

Johnson, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, will address the School of Foreign Service on May 21. Before becoming the secretary of homeland security, Johnson was the general counsel of the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2012. During his tenure as secretary of homeland security, Johnson has sought to improve the department’s ability to respond to threats and has reformed the department’s response to illegal immigration.  In his position as general counsel of the Department of Defense, Johnson was responsible for legally reviewing and approving all military operations, including drone strikes. Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College, and received his law degree from Columbia Law School.

Students in the College will hear from Cousteau, who will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, May 21. Cousteau, who is the granddaughter of renowned documentary filmmaker and oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, founded EarthEcho International, an organization that seeks to help young people develop solutions to environmental challenges, with her brother Philippe Cousteau in 2000. She also founded Blue Legacy, a charity that seeks to use storytelling to encourage environmental protection, in 2008.

Broussard will address undergraduate students in the McDonough School of Business on May 21. Broussard has had a long career in the health industry, serving as CEO of McKessson Specialty/US Oncology, Inc. before becoming CEO of Humana, a health insurance company, in 2011. Broussard will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Students in the School of Nursing and Health Studies will hear from Malone on May 21. Prior to becoming the CEO of the National League for Nursing, Malone was the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing in the United Kingdom. Through her work at the NLN, Malone has been an advocate on the shortage of nurses and nurse educators and the importance of nursing in serving diverse communities. Malone was ranked as one of the 100 most powerful people in health care by industry publication Modern Healthcare in 2010 and 2015. Malone will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Smith will address the McCourt School of Public Policy in the weekend’s first graduation. Before being appointed USAID administrator in 2015, Smith was a Special Assistant to the President of the United States and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the U.S. National Security Council.

Other commencement speakers will include Elena Poniatowska Amor — a journalist, novelist and poet and the first woman to receive Mexico’s National Journalism Award — who will address the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Penny Pritzker, the U.S. secretary of commerce since 2013, will address MBA students and Daniel Pink, author of The New York Times bestsellers “A Whole New Mind,” “Drive” and “To Sell is Human,” will address graduating students in the School of Continuing Studies.

Stanford University professor of medicine Kelley Michael Skeff will address students graduating from the School of Medicine on May 22, while Disability Rights International founder and Executive Director Eric David Rosenthal (LAW ’92) will address law school graduates.

Smith, Amor, Pritzker and Pink will each receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees, while Skeff will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree. World Trade Organization appellate body member Zhang Yuejiao (LAW ’83) and Rosenthal will receive honorary Doctor of Laws degrees.

Correction: This article previously stated World Trade Organization appellate body member Zhang Yuejiao (LAW ’83) would address law school graduates; Disability Rights International founder and Executive Director Eric David Rosenthal (LAW ’92) addressed graduates.

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