VP Joe Biden will be Cornell commencement weekend speaker

Former Vice President Joe Biden will be this year’s Convocation speaker during Cornell University’s Commencement Weekend, according to the University.

Vice President Joe Biden will speak at Cornell in May. Photo by Marc Nozell used under Creative Commons license.

By tradition, a guest speaker never speaks at Cornell’s Commencement ceremony itself. Only student leaders, Cornell’s President, and academic officials speak during the Sunday graduation ceremony. Guests are instead invited to speak at a Convocation event held that Saturday.

“We’re really excited about having Vice President Biden,” said Matthew “Chewy” Baumel ’17, chair of the student-run 2017 Convocation Committee, in a statement provided by Cornell. “No matter what you believe politically, you must respect his outstanding character, leadership and decadeslong service to our country, as well as how he has overcome personal adversity. He is a true American.”

Biden was Vice President of the United States from 2009-2017, and before that represented Delaware in the United States Senate for 36 years. President Obama appointed him to lead the national “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, which focused on making progress in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

Past Convocation speakers at Cornell have included astronaut Mae Jemison, M.D., Cornell class of ’81 in 1994; former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1986; newscaster Keith Olbermann class of ’79 in 1998; former U.S. attorney general Janet Reno class of ’60 in 2001; President Bill Clinton in 2004; newscaster Soledad O’Brien in 2007; poet Maya Angelou in 2008; and New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2012.

Convocation is scheduled for 12 noon to 1pm on Saturday afternoon, May 27th, at Schoellkopf Field. Tickets are not required, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Cornell says in the event of severe weather, the event will be moved indoors, and only members of the graduating class will be able to attend. The Convocation will also be streamed online and televised locally on Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable.

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