Timeline of Commencement Speakers
& Senior Lecturers

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This is a timeline of speakers at Sarah Lawrence commencement ceremonies from the class of 1929 to the present. Senior lecturers, a tradition inaugurated in 1989, are also included where applicable.

1920s

Year
Commencement Speaker
1929 Henry Noble MacCracken and Ruth Wilmot Anderson, the sole graduate at the first commencement.

1930s

Year
Commencement Speaker
1930 John H. Finley
1931 President Constance Warren
1932 Newton D. Baker
1933 John J. Coss
1934 Walton Hale Hamilton
1935 Alvin Sanders Johnson
1936 George E. Vincent
1937 Elliott Dunlap Smith
1938 Luther Halsey Gulick, Helen Merrell Lynd, and President Constance Warren
1939 Henry Bruere

1940s

Year
Commencement Speaker
1940 Stuart Chase
1941 Cora DuBois, William H. Schuman
1942 Eugene Meyer, Leo Gershoy
1943 Archibald MacLeish
1944 President Constance Warren
1945 Henry Noble MacCracken
1946 Leo Gershoy (Spring Term), Arthur Lee Kinsolving
1947 Harlow Shapley
1948 Frederick Lewis Allen
1949 Howard Mumford Jones

1950s

Year
Commencement Speaker
1950 Her Excellency Shrimati Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
1951 Henry Steele Commager
1952 Frederick Burkhardt
1953 George N. Shuster
1954 Justice William O. Douglas
1955 Honorable Ahmed Bokhara
1956 Robert Frost
1957 Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt
1958 Frank Lloyd Wright
1959 Herbert Block

1960s

Year
Commencement Speaker
1960 Harrison Brown
1961 Max Lerner
1962 Theodor Reik
1963 Herbert Marcuse
1964 Edward P. Morgan
1965 Sargent Shriver
1966 Linus Pauling
1967 Elizabeth Sewell
1968 John Summerskill
1969 Charles DeCarlo

1970s

Year
Commencement Speaker
1970 Margaret Mead
1971 Rene Dubos
1972 Jacquelyn Mattfeld
1973 Morris Abram
1974 Rudolf Arnheim
1975 Muriel Rukeyser
1976 Joan Kelly-Gadol
1977 Colleen Dewhurst
1978 Bella Abzug
1979 Stanley Kunitz

1980s

Year
Commencement Speaker
Senior Lecturer
1980 Robert MacNeil
1981 George Wald
1982 Frances FitzGerald
1983 E.L. Doctorow
1984 Jane Alexander '61
1985 Meredith Monk
1986 Tracy Kidder
1987 Sir Claus Moser
1988 Toni Morrison
1989 Renee Poussaint Grace Paley

1990s

Year
Commencement Speaker
Senior Lecturer
1990 Paul Newman Spalding Gray
1991 Jill Ker Conway Shirley Kaplan
1992 Henry Cisneros Shahnaz Rouse
1993 Donna E. Shalala Ilja Wachs
1994 Sidney Poitier Pauline Watts '70
1995 Joan Konner Priscilla Murolo '80
1996 Cornel West Komozi Woodard
1997 Peter Goldmark Regina Arnold
1998 Jane Alexander '61 and Johnetta Cole Chikwenye Ogunyemi
1999 Joanne Braxton '72 Michael Davis

2000s

Year
Commencement Speaker
Senior Lecturer
2000 Ian Lipkin '74 Suzanne Gardinier
2001 Barbara Walters Raymond Seidelman
2002 Anna Quindlen Nancy Baker
2003 Shirley M. Tilghan Michael Moore
2004 Grace Paley Joseph Forte
2005 Susan Meiselas '70 Lyde Sizer
2006 Ann Patchett '85 Fred Smoler
2007 Alice M. Greenwald '73 Ilja Wachs
2008 Jessica Lange Angel Moger
2009 Rahm Emanuel '81 Brian Morton

2010s

Year
Undergraduate Commencement Speaker
Graduate Commencement Speaker
Senior Lecturer
2010 Julianna Margulies '89 Suzanne Gardinier
2011 Arianna Huffington Frederick Strype
2012 Adam Savage William Shullenburger
2013 Vera Wang '71
2014 Fareed Zakaria
2015 Kwame Anthony Appiah Amy Goodman
2016 Mo Rocca Joan Marks
Scott Calvin
2017 JJ Abrams '88 Jamal Joseph Joseph Lauinger