by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jeremiah Poff writes for the Washington Examiner about the ideological skew among commencement speakers at top-ranked colleges across the country. Just a handful represent a right-of-center political perspective.
Only three of the top 100 ranked universities in the country will be hosting a high-profile conservative speaker for their 2022 commencement addresses, according to a report by the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former college football star Tim Tebow will be the only notable American conservatives slated to deliver commencement addresses at any of the U.S. News and World Report’s top 100 universities. Youngkin is slated to address graduates at Virginia Tech University, and Tebow is set to speak to the class of 2022 at his alma mater, the University of Florida.
The only other college that has invited a conservative speaker to its commencement is Boston College, which will welcome Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to its 2022 commencement festivities.
In contrast, according to the foundation’s report, 53 top-ranked colleges will host liberal speakers. The remaining schools either do not have an announced speaker, have multiple ceremonies and thus multiple speakers, have selected a university administrator as their speaker, or will have a speaker whose politics could not be ascertained.
Liberal addressees include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who will address graduates at Brown University, singer and songwriter Taylor Swift at New York University, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, author and journalist Bob Woodward at Boston University, and Biden administration official Samantha Power, who will speak at Johns Hopkins University.
President Joe Biden is himself scheduled to address graduates at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Delaware.
In recent years, conservative commencement speakers and even some liberal speakers have increasingly faced protests when invited to address graduates.