BREAKING: CNN’s Abby Phillip announced as American University’s fall 2021 commencement speaker

Phillip will deliver her keynote address in a traditional fully in-person ceremony

BREAKING: CNN’s Abby Phillip announced as American University’s fall 2021 commencement speaker

American University announced CNN correspondent Abby Phillip as this year’s fall commencement keynote speaker, in the first in-person ceremony since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AU’s 142nd commencement will be held in Bender Arena on Dec. 19. Graduates can sit together, and all guests and speakers can attend in person. Phillip, who is the senior political correspondent and anchor of Inside Politics Sunday at CNN, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 

“A commencement speaker like Abby Phillip, who makes an impact every day through her work, is the culmination of the hands-on learning experience that our graduates have known throughout their time at American University,” President Sylvia M. Burwell wrote in the email. 

Approximately 1,500 summer and fall graduates will receive degrees from the University’s seven schools, including the Washington College of Law, and AU’s Professional Studies and Executive Education programs, the email said. 

For those who cannot attend, AU will hold an online graduate recognition feature this fall. Videos with individual slides for all August, September and eligible December graduates will be available for viewing on the commencement site.

“I’m deeply honored to deliver American University’s fall commencement address during the first in-person commencement ceremony the university has held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Philip said in the University’s press release.

Philip is a former White House correspondent for CNN and was named to the Time 100 Next list in 2021, and she was the recipient of the National Urban League’s Women of Power award.

“I am grateful to offer my words of encouragement to the newest class of U.S. and global leaders,” she said. “I look forward to sharing with these graduates my thoughts about how they can guide us into the future, whatever it may hold, with courage and truth." 

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