Hillary Clinton Will Speak at Wellesley Graduation

The candidate will return to her alma mater for a commencement speech.

Hillary Clinton DNC

Photo via AP

It looks like Hillary Clinton will be returning to her alma mater this year, as the former candidate for president is slated to speak at Wellesley College’s graduation this year.

Fewer than three months after her upset defeat in the 2016 presidential election, and two weeks after the inauguration of her rival Republican Donald Trump, the college announced Wednesday that the Democrat will be the 2017 commencement speaker for the women’s liberal arts college.

In written statements, which did not mention Trump by name, members of the Wellesley community say they look forward to celebrating Clinton’s role as a champion of women’s rights.

“Secretary Clinton’s decision to come to Wellesley is profoundly inspiring to all of us at the College,” says Casey Butler, co-president of Wellesley’s senior class. “As Wellesley students, we arrive here believing in a future that respects women’s potential and accomplishment, but as graduating seniors, and at this moment in history, we look to Secretary Clinton, our sister, as someone who will inspire us to make that future now.

“She is the best person to represent who we have become at Wellesley and who we strive to be in the world,” says Amal Cheema, the other co-president. “Her tireless push for progress embodies the spirit—and the courage—we seek in breaking down barriers and shattering glass ceilings of all kinds.”

On-campus student newspaper The Wellesley News was first to report the news with a tweet.


“The news is out! We are proud to have Hillary Rodham Clinton’69 as our Commencement Speaker,” The Wellesley College Class Council wrote on Facebook this morning. “We hope you are as thrilled and honored as we are.”

Wellesley President Paula A. Johnson also had effusive praise for the notable alum:

Secretary Clinton has changed the face of American politics, showing the country and the world that there must be no limit to the heights to which women can rise. She joins a long line of women history-makers, including fellow Wellesley alumnae, who give us all a profound sense of hope that the future is ours to define. A true force of nature, Clinton inspires women of all ages to find their voice, to defy expectations, to reject stereotypes—to match their competence with confidence in pursuing tangible, positive change in the world. Her persistence, her love of service, and her commitment to fight for women and girls serves as a living example of how to make ‘what appears to be impossible, possible,’ as she said to her fellow graduating classmates at Wellesley in 1969. For these reasons and many more, Wellesley is immensely honored to welcome her home as this year’s commencement speaker.

Before she went on to serve as Senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State, Clinton graduated  in 1969 with a political science degree from Wellesley, where she once served as president of the Young Republicans Club.

This will be her third commencement address at the college. The year she graduated, she became the first student to give a commencement address (you can the speech, which is credited by some as a defining moment at the beginning of her career in politics, here). She did it again in 1992 (read it here).

Clinton narrowly beat Bernie Sanders in Massachusetts’ Democratic primary in 2016, but won decisively here in the general election. Supporters on the campus, who had expected to witness an historic moment in the election of the nation’s first female president, were devastated when she lost, and wept in the college’s gym on election night.

Commencement is scheduled for Friday, May 26, at 10:30 a.m.