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University’s commencement speakers to include Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Monumental Sports CEO Ted Leonsis

This year’s ceremonies mark the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's commencement address

American University’s commencement speakers this spring will include high-profile figures with ties to the D.C. region including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and former Maryland governor Larry Hogan. 

According to a University press release, the speakers include Jackson, Hogan, the owner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and Washington Mystics Ted Leonsis, Chief Executive Officer of Millennial Challenge Corporation Alice P. Albright, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Nasdaq Adena T. Friedman and Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet Julie Kent. 

The speakers will address 3,400 graduates at ceremonies in Bender Arena, which will also be streamed live, according to the press release. Jackson will address the graduates of the Washington College of Law at their May 20 ceremony. Jackson, an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, is the first Black woman to serve on the Court. 

Leonsis will speak at the School of Communication and School of Education ceremony on May 12 at 10:30 a.m. He is the founder, chair, principal partner and chief executive officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and owns several D.C.-area professional sports teams. 

Albright, who has also previously worked as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and chief financial and investment officer for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, will speak at the School of International Service ceremony on May 12 at 3 p.m.

Friedman, chair and CEO of Nasdaq, will speak at the ceremony for the Kogod School of Business and the School of Professional and Extended Studies on May 13 at 3 p.m.

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will address the School of Public Affairs on Saturday, May 13 at 1:30 p.m. Hogan served two terms as governor and was only the second Republican governor in Maryland history to win reelection. 

The College of Arts and Sciences will be addressed by Julie Kent, the artistic director of the Washington Ballet on May 13 at 6 p.m.

This year’s commencement ceremonies mark the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s address to AU graduates in June 1963, where he called for a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. 

“Only at American University do six changemakers of this caliber come together to celebrate our

graduates and charge them to continue their pursuit of the change our world needs,” wrote AU

President Sylvia Burwell in the press release. “Our commencement speakers set examples for us all through their lives and experiences, and they will provide an inspiring conclusion for our Class of ’23 Eagles.”

This article was edited by Jordan Young. Copyediting done by Isabelle Kravis.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson's name as "Kentaji." The story has been updated with the correct spelling. 

nheller@theeagleonline.com 


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