Your Break Between Classes

Science Guys to Music Moguls Set to Inspire Graduates

Sean "Diddy" Combs left Howard University as a student and returns as commencement speaker.
Sean “Diddy” Combs left Howard University as a student and returns as an orator. Sean Combs via Facebook


Some of the most recognized celebrities and industry experts are delivering the final send-off to the class of 2014. Anticipation among students is high for moving speeches from the likes of Sean “Diddy” Combs to Vice President Joe Biden that will stay with them as they enter the next phase in life.

Below are just some of the notable speakers addressing the doctors, multi-millionaires and business leaders of tomorrow.

Shonda Rhimes, creator of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," will speak at Dartmouth.
Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” will speak at Dartmouth. Shonda Rhimes

Speaker: Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is an award-winning writer, producer and director from Chicago,Rhimes is the first African-American woman to create and executive produce a top 10 network TV series: “Grey’s Anatomy,” her hospital drama series with Betsy Beers. She is also known for the political drama-thriller “Scandal.”

Ceremony Information: 10 a.m. Sunday, June 8t, at The College Green

Speaker: First Lady Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is a lawyer, writer and the first African American to be First Lady of the United States. Since assuming the position, Obama has been an advocate for many causes from LGBT rights to her childhood obesity campaign, Let’s Move!

Ceremony Information: 8 a.m. Saturday, May 10, Avenue of the Oaks

Speaker: Sean “Diddy” Combs

Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy or simply Diddy, is a rapper, producer, actor and entrepreneur. Combs is the founder and CEO of Bad Boy Records, established in 1993. Combs was a student at the premier historically black university before he left during his sophomore year to become A&R executive at Uptown Records.

Ceremony Information: 10 a.m. Saturday May 10, Upper Quadrangle, Main Campus 

Speaker: Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki is the chief executive officer of YouTube. Before taking her position at YouTube, Wojcicki served as senior vice president of advertising and commerce at Google. She has also been named one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women for the past four years.

Ceremony Information: 8:40 a.m. Thursday, May 22,  Homewood Field

Speaker: Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore served in the Clinton Administration. Gore is also co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, a privately owned investment management firm that was founded in 2004. In addition to his management firm, Gore is a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, board member of Apple Inc. and chairman of a non-profit climate crisis company, Climate Reality Project.

Ceremony Information: 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 3, Front of Nassau Hall

Bill and Melinda Gates at Lee High School in Houston during their Texas learning tour in 2008.
Bill and Melinda Gates at Lee High School in Houston during their Texas learning tour in 2008. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Speaker: Bill and Melinda Gates

The husband and wife duo are widely known for their charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the largest private foundations in the world, their organization focuses on the enhancement of health care and the fight against poverty. Bill Gates is the former chief executive and chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded.

Ceremony Information: 10 a.m., Sunday, June 15, Stanford Stadium

Speaker: Bill Nye

Bill Nye is a scientist, author, comedian and engineer from Washington, D.C. Nye is best known for his PBS School series “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” which aimed to educate youth on natural sciences. He recently appeared on the 17th season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Ceremony Information: 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, Tsongas Center

Speaker: John Legend

John Legend is an award winning, singer, songwriter and producer, from Springfield, Ohio. The UPenn alum and nine-time Grammy award recipient has many titles including philanthropist and entrepreneur. Legend has founded and worked for many causes including his Show Me Campaign, which began in 2007 to help break the cycle of poverty. The Show Me Campaign works to give children access to quality education.

Ceremony Information: 10:15 a.m. Monday, May 19, Franklin Field

Speaker: Vice President Joe Biden

Before serving in the Obama Administration as the 47th U.S. vice president, Joe Biden was a Democratic senator of Delaware from 1973 to 2009. Biden was also the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 2007 to 2009.

Ceremony Information: 3:00 p.m. Friday, May 9, Colonial Life Arena

Speaker: Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is a two-time Super Bowl champion and the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Manning was a first round pick in the 1998 NFL draft, where he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts and played from 1998-2011. Off the field, Peyton works with his charity, the PeyBack Foundation. He started the foundation in 1999 to provide leadership and growth opportunities for adolescents at risk.

Ceremony Information: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 17, The Lawn

Dara Jones is a reporter for



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