Here’s a look at who’s speaking at area commencements this spring

Graduates waved flags at the Northeastern University graduation at TD Garden on May 3.
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
Graduates waved flags at the Northeastern University graduation at TD Garden on May 3.

Spring is here and so is commencement season, which will include dozens of speeches from noted leaders, academics, actors, and activists.

Below is a running list of the confirmed commencement speakers who will address crowds at graduations across Massachusetts. They’ll dispense advice, tell stories, and pass on things they’ve learned to the thousands of graduates receiving diplomas across the state.

Thursday, May 30: Harvard University

Speaker: German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Notable quote: “We are responsible for each other. I am trying to convince the doubters. There is still work to do.” (At a G7 meeting in 2017.)

Friday, May 31: UMass Boston

Speaker: US Representative Ayanna Pressley

Friday, May 31: Wellesley College

Speaker: Anita Hill

Friday, June 7: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Speaker: Former NYC mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg


Notable quote: “In the global economy, and in a democratic society, an open mind is the most valuable asset you can possess.” (At the University of Michigan’s 2016 commencement.)


Sunday, April 28: Wentworth Institute of Technology

Speaker: Governor Charlie Baker

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Notable quote: “Anybody who does anything that matters fails at some point along the way. Failure is almost always an important part of ultimate success.” (At Hamilton College’s 2017 Commencement)

Friday, May 3: Northeastern University

Speaker: Author Tara Westover

Notable quote: “I think education is really just a process of self-discovery—of developing a sense of self and what you think. I think of [it] as this great mechanism of connecting and equalizing.”

Friday, May 10: UMass Amherst

Speaker: Governor Charlie Baker

Friday, May 10: UMass Dartmouth

Speakers: US Representative William Keating, Justice Elspeth Cypher, Massachusetts Life Science Center President Travis McCready, Tufts Medical Center CEO emiritus Ellen Zane

Saturday, May 11: Berklee College of Music

Speaker: Three-time Tony and Grammy Award–winner and 1995 graduate Alex Lacamoire.

Saturday, May 11: Regis College

Speaker: David Ortiz

Notable quote: “If you asked me five years ago, did I think I was going to get a degree, I still would have told you no way, man. Now my kids ask about college, and I say, if I can get a doctorate, you can too.” (Prior to delivering the commencement address at Boston University in 2017)

Saturday, May 11: Lasell College

Speaker: US Representative Joe Kennedy III

Saturday, May 11: Emmanuel College

Speaker: Author Doris Kearns Goodwin

Notable quote: “For most of us the chance to have our stories told may not be realized in a Washington Monument but rather through the memories of our children, our friends, our colleagues, and our families.” (At Loyola Marymount University’s 2013 commencement)

Sunday, May 12: Emerson College

Speaker: Journalist Soledad O’Brien


Notable quote: “Carve your own way. Don’t listen to conventional wisdom. Listen to yourself, your dreams, and don’t let other people’s vision of what is possible or what is true sway you.” (At Spelman College’s 2014 commencement)

Friday, May 17: Simmons University

Speaker: Tiffany Dufu, women’s empowerment advocate

Notable quote: “I relentlessly pursue one goal. A world in which women’s gifts and voices are fully harnessed for the benefit of all of us.”

Friday, May 17: UMass Lowell

Speaker: US Representative Lori Trahan

Saturday, May 18: Bentley University

Speakers: State Street CEO Ronald O’Hanley and Robert Quinn, leadership expert

Saturday, May 18: Ben Franklin Institute of Technology

Speaker: US Representative Ayanna Pressley

Notable quote: “Someone has to ask the question, and that one question changes the conversation and shifts the air.” (In 2018.)

Saturday, May 18: Lesley University

Speakers: Anita Hill, Brandeis law professor and advocate for women, and Beth Harry, special education scholar

Saturday, May 18: Babson College

Speakers: AOL co-founder Steve Case and Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda

Sunday, May 19: Boston University

Speaker: Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences

Notable quote: “Hope is inspired when you can dream like the artist, show the heart of the humanist, formulate solutions with the insight of a scientist, and execute projects with the precision of the engineer.” (In 2018.)

Sunday, May 19: Brandeis University

Speaker: Deborah E. Lipstadt, Holocaust historian and author

Notable quote: “Even if you say a lie with great conviction, it’s a lie. Certain things we can debate, but certain things happened and certain things are facts.” (In a Globe story in 2016.)

Sunday, May 19: Smith College

Speakers: Ai-jen Poo, domestic workers’ rights activist


Notable quote: “We will need you to continue stepping fearlessly into the future, with your strongest moral compass. You can be sure that your children and your grandchildren will ask, ‘Where were you?’ ‘What were you doing during this moment in history?’ I want you to have a good answer.” (At the New School’s commencement in 2017.)

Sunday, May 19: Suffolk University

Speakers: Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, Representative Joe Kennedy III, and Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee

Sunday, May 19: Tufts University

Speaker: Oscar-nominated actress and activist Alfre Woodard

Notable quote: “Bring your gifts to the healings of the nations. Yes, we expect great things from you.” (At the University of Tulsa’s 2016 commencement.)

Monday, May 20: Boston College

Speaker: Isabel Capeloa Gil, president of the International Federation of Catholic Universities

Thursday, May 23: Bunker Hill Community College

Speaker: Carlos Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education

Friday, May 24: Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Speaker: Elizabeth Lowrey, principal director of interior architecture at Elkus Manfredi Architects

Sunday, May 26: Framingham State University

Speaker: US Representative John Lewis

Notable quote: “Take a long, deep breath, take it all in — and roll up your sleeves, because the world is waiting for you, waiting for talented men and women to lead it to a better place.” (To Boston University graduates in 2018.)

Peter Bailey-Wells can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells. Abbi Matheson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AbbiMatheson.