Former Vice President Joseph Biden is coming to Baltimore this month to give the keynote address during Morgan State University’s spring commencement exercises.
Journalist Frank Bruni has seemingly done it all, from writing about religion and war in Detroit to covering George W. Bush’s White House in Washington to co-authoring his own cookbook. Soon, he’ll add an honorary doctorate from Hopkins to his resume.
For Jonah Haas, a recent graduate of Friends School of Baltimore, there is a lot of pride in being a Baltimorean.
2016 is going to be quite a year for graduation ceremonies at Baltimore-area colleges and universities. Perhaps because of all the high-profile media attention the city got over the past year, we’ve wound up with an impressive slate of speakers–from Academy Award nominees to bestselling authors to politicans– planning on imparting their wisdom to eager graduates this year.
It’s lovely to have your graduation ceremony outside–as long as the weather cooperates, the mosquitos stay away, and no one’s grandmother faints from standing in the sun too long. In fact, most local universities–from MICA to Morgan State–hold their commencements indoors. And as of next year, Johns Hopkins will join them.
This story is adorable, though it probably didn’t start out that way for Johns Hopkins senior Amanda Valledor. According to the Hopkins Hub, during yesterday’s commencement exercises, Valledor was told that her diploma had been misplaced, and that she’d have to wait around for a university staffer to find it for her. But the guy who actually showed up bearing her diploma was her dad, Colonel John Valledor, back on a surprise visit from his military service in Afghanistan. The two hadn’t seen each other in person in 14 months!
You have to be pretty special to get a degree from Johns Hopkins, which means you have to be extra special to be deemed worthy of an honorary degree. This year’s recipients are a laudable bunch, including a hero of the gay-rights movement, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a beloved bow-tie wearing Baltimorean.
I love commencement season — not just because of the caps and gowns and excitement in the air, but also because it’s the time of year when local universities bring famous (or, well, semi-famous) folks to town to deliver the commencement address. While none of the speakers announced so far rivals Ira Glass (who spoke at Goucher in 2012), they make for an intriguing mix:
Johns Hopkins: Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. Why this is cool: She’ll be just the fifth woman to serve as Johns Hopkins’ graduation speaker since 1974.
Stevenson: ABC News Anchor Byron Pitts, who you may recognize from his reporting appearances on Good Morning America, Nightline, and 20/20. Or from Morgan State’s 2013 commencement speech. Why this is cool: He’s a native Baltimorean!