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Indiana University Commencement speakers (University Archives)


Indiana University Commencement speakers, 1892-present

The modern day commencement address and speaker were introduced to Indiana University in 1892; previously commencement programs lasted several days and consisted of student orations and one “master oration” generally given by an alumnus of the university.* The individuals delivering the “master oration” may qualify as commencement speakers but they are not listed below. In addition to the student and alumni speakers, orators were brought in to address the various literary societies such as the Athenians, Philomatheans, and the Hesperians.

 

It was the President’s duty to deliver the Baccalaureate sermons; however, it is assumed that the President did also deliver a small speech after the diplomas were conferred upon the students. For example, the 1882 program does not name President Lemuel Moss as a speaker. However, an uncited newspaper article states, “After conferring their diplomas, President Moss gave the class a talk…” The newspaper then prints Moss’ speech in its entirety. The first official mention of the President addressing the class is detailed in the 1883 Commencement program.

 

By 1892 the student presentations had been whittled down to a few orations and poems delivered two days before the actual commencement ceremony took place. Rev. John H. Barrows of Chicago delivered the address that year, entitled “The Need and Comfort of Theism.”

 

December 1942 marked the first time a winter commencement took place, with 580 graduates. On December 7, 1941, the United States officially entered into WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Indiana Daily Student (IDS) of December 20, 1942 addressed the many changes that Indiana University underwent in 1941, including the inauguration of the “speed it up” program. The IDS reported: “New military units for university students, the establishment of a training school for both men and women in the Navy and a war-adjusting curriculum within a year made life on campus quite different for the students who had entered school when America was still saying ‘if,’ instead of ‘when we get into the war.’”

 

The university stopped conducting December commencement ceremonies after December 1944. Intermittent February commencement ceremonies took place until 1954, when Indiana University went back to a single commencement ceremony at the end of the academic year.

 

Due to an increasing number of college students, May 1980 was the first time the university conducted two spring commencements, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon on the same day. In 1984, commencement was separated into three ceremonies, spanning two days. In 1988, the university conducted the first outdoor commencement ceremony in 17 years, allowing for a single ceremony for all graduates that year.

 

In 1989, a resurging interest in winter commencement led to winter graduates being given a reception in their honor. A newspaper clipping from January 1989 reported: “About 1400 students graduating in December 1989 might have a commencement if a university committee discovers enough interest. The University hasn’t conducted winter commencements since World War II, when many soldiers couldn’t attend Spring ceremonies. Currently, December graduates may attend commencement in the Spring before or after their actual graduation date.” A November 1989 clipping stated: “December grads will have reception in their honor on December 9 in the Musical Arts Center. Kenneth Gros Louis, University vice president and Indiana University Bloomington chancellor, said about 20 percent of IU grads finish their coursework in December.” In 1994, the university replaced the December graduates’ reception/luncheon with ceremonies in the graduates’ individual schools. It was then noted that a mid-year commencement could be added in the future if the number of December graduates continued to increase. Finally, 1997 saw the first reinstatement of midyear graduation since 1944, and a winter commencement was held on December 22, 1997.

 

In 2010, for the first time, Indiana University implemented separate commencement ceremonies for undergraduates and graduate students. A November 2009 press release stated: “Moving to a separate ceremony for graduate students will allow more time to focus on their distinct achievements and observe the academic tradition of hooding Ph.D. and doctoral candidates. Likewise, the undergraduate ceremonies … will focus exclusively on the undergraduate experience and include new emphasis on undergraduate achievement, including the addition of undergraduate voices to the official program.”

 

*There were, however, two exceptions: In 1845 Judge David McDonald of Bloomington addressed the class and in 1848 J.C. Vaughn of Louisville addressed the assembled crowd.

 

2012
Spring:
Undergraduate ceremony:
David L. Carden – United States' first resident ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Booker T Jones -- Grammy-winning artist and IU Jacobs School of Music alumnus
Graduate ceremony:
David L. Carden – United States' first resident ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Winter: Mitch Daniels -- Governor of Indiana

 

2011
Spring:
Undergraduate ceremony:
Patricia R. Miller -- Co-founder of Vera Bradley Designs and former Indiana Secretary of Commerce
Graduate ceremony:
William G. Bowen – Former President of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and of Princeton University
Winter: Randall T. Shepard – Chief Justice, Indiana Supreme Court

 

2010
Spring:
Undergraduate ceremony:
Quincy Jones – 27-time Grammy winner, Emmy winner, Oscar nominee, Academy Award nominee, composer, musician, and producer
Graduate ceremony:
Elinor Ostrom -- 2009 recipient of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (Nobel Prize in Economics) and IUB Distinguished Professor and Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science
Winter: Vice Admiral Adam M. Robinson, Jr. – Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy and Chief of its  Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

 

2009
Spring: Michael Kirby -- Human-rights advocate and former Justice of the High Court of Australia
Winter: Robert M. Gates – U.S. Secretary of Defense

 

2008
Spring: Will Shortz -- IU alumnus and crossword editor, The New York Times
Winter: Richard C. Atkinson – President emeritus of the University of California

 

2007
Spring: Tavis Smiley -- Radio and television personality
Winter: John T. Chambers – Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems

 

2006
Spring: Michael E. Uslan -- Movie producer
Winter: Adam W. Herbert – President, Indiana University

 

2005
Spring: Adam W. Herbert -- President, Indiana University
Winter: Adam W. Herbert -- President, Indiana University

 

2004
Spring: Judy O'Bannon -- Former Indiana first lady
Winter: Adam W. Herbert – President, Indiana University

 

2003
Spring: Richard Lugar -- Indiana Senator
Winter: Adam W. Herbert -- President, Indiana University

 

2002
Spring: Richard A. Enberg -- CBS sports broadcaster
Winter: George E. Walker – Vice President for Research and Dean of the University Graduate School

 

2001
Spring: Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis -- Vice President for Academic Affairs, IUB Chancellor
Winter: Tony Mobley – Dean of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation

 

2000
Spring: John Mellencamp -- Entertainer
Winter: Charles H. Webb, Jr. – IU professor emeritus of music, Chairman of the Board of Advisors of International Music Festivals, Inc.

 

1999
Spring: James F. Collins – United States Ambassador to Russia (Address entitled: “Russia and the
American Role on the Eve of a New Century”)
Winter: William A. Cook – President of Cook Incorporated

 

1998
Spring: Sylvia McNair -- World-famous soprano
Winter: Herman C. Hudson – Director of Indiana University’s Minority Achievers Program, and Martha C. Kraft professor emeritus of Afro-American Studies.

 

1997
Spring: Dan Coats -- United States Senator
Winter: Claudia Mitchell-Kernan – Vice chancellor of the graduate division of the University of California, Los Angeles, presidential appointee to the governing board of the National Science Foundation

 

1996 Evan Bayh -- Governor of Indiana

 

1995 Birch E. Bayh, Jr. – Indiana Senator

 

1994 Hanna H. Gray – President emerita, University of Chicago

 

1993 Robert Shaw – Conductor and music director emeritus, Atlanta Symphony

 

1992 Helen Suzman – Member of Parliament, Republic of South Africa

 

1991 Lee H. Hamilton -- United States Congressman

 

1990 Jane Pauley -- Broadcast journalist

 

1989 Jill S. Ruckelshaus – Women’s and civil rights activist

 

1988 Herman B Wells – Indiana University chancellor

 

1987
May 9, morning: Ann G. DeVore -- State Auditor, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
May 9, afternoon: H. Dean Evans – Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
May 10, morning: Ann G. DeVore – State Auditor, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1986
May 10, morning & afternoon: Edwin J. Simcox -- Secretary of State, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
May 11, afternoon: H. Dean Evans – Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’) 

 

1985 Morning: Robert D. Orr -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1984
May 5, morning: Edwin J. Simcox -- Secretary of State, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
May 5, afternoon: John M. Mutz – Lieutenant Governor, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
May 6, afternoon: Robert D. Orr – Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1983
Morning: Robert D. Orr -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
Afternoon: Richard M. Givan – Chief Justice of Indiana Supreme Court (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1982
Morning: Richard M. Givan – Chief Justice of Indiana Supreme Court (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
Afternoon: John M. Mutz -- Lieutenant Governor, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1981 Morning & afternoon: Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. -- Chief Judge, Indiana Court of Appeals (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1980 Morning & afternoon: Otis R. Bowen, M.D. -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1979 Otis R. Bowen, M.D. -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1978 Otis R. Bowen, M.D. -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1977 Robert D. Orr -- Lieutenant Governor, State of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1976 Otis R. Bowen, M.D. -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1975 Robert D. Orr -- Lieutenant Governor, State of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1974 Otis R. Bowen, M.D. -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1973 Otis R. Bowen, M.D. -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1972 Norman F. Arterburn -- Chief Justice of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1971 John J. Loughlin -- Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1970 Richard E. Folz – Lieutenant Governor, Indiana – (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1969 Edgar D. Whitcomb -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1968 Robert L. Rock -- Lieutenant Governor, Indiana – (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1967 Robert L. Rock -- Lieutenant Governor, Indiana – (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1966 Robert L. Rock -- Lieutenant Governor, Indiana – (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1965 Robert L. Rock -- Lieutenant Governor, Indiana – (Gives ‘Remarks’)

 

1964 Harold E. Achor -- Chief Justice, Indiana Supreme Court – (Gives ‘Remarks’)

 

1963 Matthew E. Welsh -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1962 Matthew E. Welsh -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1961 Matthew E. Welsh -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1960 Harold W. Handley -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1959 Harold W. Handley -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1958 Harold W. Handley -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1957 Harold W. Handley -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1956 Frederick Landis -- Chief Justice, Indiana Supreme Court (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1955 George N. Craig -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1954
June: George N. Craig -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
February: Thomas E. Jones -- President, Earlham College

 

1953
June: George N. Craig -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
February: Maurice O. Ross -- President, Butler University

 

1952
June: Henry F. Schricker -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
February: Vincent Sheean -- Author-Correspondent

 

1951
June: John A. Watkins -- Lieutenant Governor, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
February: Kenneth Lindsay -- former member of Parliament

 

1950
June: John A. Watkins -- Lieutenant Governor, Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)
February: No outside speaker.

 

1949 Henry F. Schricker -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1948 Ralph F. Gates -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1947 Ralph F. Gates -- Governor of Indiana (Gives a ‘Greetings from the State’)

 

1946
June: Wiley Rutledge -- Justice United States Supreme Court (Address entitled: “Was Thomas Jefferson Wrong?”)
February: McIlyar H. Lichliter -- Grand Prior and active member at large of the Scottish Rite Supreme
Council (Address entitled: “Sanity in a Muddled World”)

 

1945
April: Ralph Cooper Hutchinson -- President, Washington and Jefferson College

August: Francisco A. Delgado -- LL.B. ’07 Delegate of the Commonwealth of the Philippines the United
Nations Conference

 

1944
April: James W. Clarke -- Professor of Homiletics, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago (Address entitled: “The Great Adventure”)

December: Norman Vincent Peale -- Pastor, Marble-Collegiate Church of New York City (Address entitled: “How To Live in a Time Like This”)

 

1943
April: George W. Norris -- United States Senator (Address entitled: “A Lasting Peace”)

August: Archibald MacLeish – Librarian of Congress (Address entitled: “The Definition of Victory”)

December: Tingfu F. Tsiang -- Chief Political Secretary to President Chiang Kai-shek and Member of United Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (Address entitled: “Whither China?”)

 

1942
May: Joseph E. Davies -- former American Ambassador to Russia and Belgium

December: James S. Adams -- President, Standard Brands Incorporated (Address entitled: The Unchanging Law”)

 

1941 Mary Hamilton Swindler – Professor of Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College (Address entitled: “Education in a Changing World”)

 

1940 Glenn Frank – President emeritus, University of Chicago (Address entitled: “Who But the Young Can See”)

 

1939 William Allen White -- Publisher and editor, The Emporia (Kansas) Gazette

 

1938 Frank C. Mann -- Mayo Foundation, University of Minnesota (Address entitled: “Looking Backward”)

 

1937 Frank Aydelotte -- President, Swarthmore College (Address entitled: “Democracy and Excellence”)

 

1936 George Vincent -- Educator, New York City (Address entitled: "Faith in Democracy")

 

1935 John Huston Finley -- Associate Editor, New York Times

 

1934 Frank Albert Fetter -- Professor, Princeton University (Address entitled: “Drift or Mastery”)

 

1933 Elmer Burritt Bryan -- President, Ohio University (Address entitled: “The Democratization of Education”)

 

1932
John T. Thompson -- Brigadier General of the United States Army, inventor of the Thompson (“tommy”) submachine gun (Address entitled: “The Preservation of the Union”)
Ernest Hiram Lindley -- Chancellor, University of Kansas (Address entitled: “Revival of Personality”)
William Lowe Bryan, President, Indiana University (Address entitled: “Fight or Run Away”)

 

1931
Gordon J. Laing -- Professor of Latin, Dean of Humanities Division, and General Editor of University Press, University of Chicago (Address entitled: “Specialization and Its Place in Education”)
William Lowe Bryan -- President, Indiana University

 

1930 William B. Bizzell -- President, University of Oklahoma (Address entitled: “Our Changing Intellectual Climate”)

 

1929 William Lowe Bryan -- President, Indiana University (Address entitled: “1830-1930-2030”)

 

1928
Walter Albert Jessup -- President, State University of Iowa
William Lowe Bryan -- President, Indiana University

 

1927 James Everett Sanders -- Secretary to the President of the United States (Address entitled: “The Call for Service”)

 

1926 Clarence Cook Little -- President, University of Michigan (Address entitled: “Humanizing Education”)

 

1925 Roscoe Pound -- Dean, Harvard Law School

 

1924 James A. Woodburn -- Professor, Indiana University (Address entitled: “Since the Beginning: A Retrospect”)

 

1923 Francis J. McConnell -- Bishop, Pittsburgh Area, Methodist Episcopal Church

 

1922
Lotus Delta Coffman -- President, University of Minnesota
Ernest Hiram Lindley -- Chancellor, University of Kansas

 

1921 William Oxley Thompson -- President, Ohio State University

 

1920

Centennial celebration with addresses from former IU presidents:
David Starr Jordan -- Chancellor emeritus, Leland Stanford Junior University
John Merle Coulter -- Head Professor of Botany, University of Chicago
Joseph Swain -- President, Swarthmore College

 

1919 George Lincoln Burr -- Professor of Medieval History, Cornell University

 

1918 Theodore Roosevelt -- former President of the United States of America (Address entitled: “Straightforward Americanism”)

 

1917 Lucius B. Swift – Lawyer and publicist (Address entitled: “America’s Debt to England”)

 

1916 Albert Shaw -- Editor, Review of Reviews

 

1915 William Lyon Phelps -- Lampson Professor of English, Yale University

 

1914 Le Baron R. Briggs -- Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

 

1913 Henry Wade Rogers -- Dean, Yale University Law School

 

1912 George Edgar Vincent -- President, University of Minnesota

 

1911 Edmund Janes James -- President, University of Illinois

 

1910 Frederick Jackson Turner -- Professor of American History, University of Wisconsin (Address entitled: “Pioneer Ideals and the State University”)

 

1909 David Starr Jordan -- President, Leland Stanford University

 

1908 Albert B. Cummins -- Iowa governor

 

1907 Henry Watterson -- Editor, Louisville Courier-Journal

 

1906 Joseph Wingate Folk -- Governor of Missouri

 

1905 John Watson Foster -- Politician (Minister to Mexico, Russia and Spain; Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison)

 

1904
Charles R. Van Hise -- President, University of Wisconsin
Joseph Swain -- President, Swarthmore College

 

1903 W.S. Chaplin -- Chancellor, Washington University (Address entitled: “College Discipline”)

 

1902 George E. MacLean -- President, University of Iowa (Address entitled: “American Culture”)

 

1901 Frederick Treudley -- Superintendent, Ohio Public Schools (Address entitled: “What is of Most Worth”)

 

1900 William Oxley Thompson -- President, Ohio State University (Address entitled: “The State and Education”)

 

1899 John M. Coulter -- Professor of Botany, University of Chicago

 

1898
F. H. Snow -- Chancellor, University of Kansas
W.W. Parsons -- President, State Normal School (Address entitled: “Higher Indiana”)

 

1897 Cyrus Northrop -- President, University of Minnesota

 

1896
David Starr Jordan -- President, Leland Stanford Jr. University
A.S. Draper -- President, University of Illinois

 

1895 Henry Wade Rogers -- President, Northwestern University

 

1894 W.R. Harper –- President, Chicago University

 

1893 Albion W. Small -- Professor, Chicago University (Address entitled: “The Coming of Man”)

 

1892 Rev. John H. Barrows, of Chicago (Address entitled: “The Need and Comfort of Theism.”)




last updated: 2/6/2013