Commencement Speeches 2015: Hollywood’s Top Graduation Speakers

Jim Carrey Commencement Speech - H 2014
Maharishi University of Management

Christopher Nolan and Stephen Colbert are among those who will be offering new graduates some words of wisdom this commencement season.

It's almost that time of the year.

As upcoming graduates get ready to hit the stage and toss their caps in the air, a roster of Hollywood's most influential players will be there to send them off.

At the top 100 national universities, as ranked by U.S. News, film actors, directors, politicians and entrepreneurs will stand at the podium for this year's commencement ceremonies to introduce graduating students to a new chapter of their lives.

In 2014, Jim Carrey and John Legend were among those invited to share words of wisdom and heartwarming stories of their own humble beginnings.

To see who will be speaking for this year's graduating classes in the coming months, view the confirmed list of speakers below (more to be added):

Princeton University (June 1) – Christopher Nolan

New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (May 22) -- Robert de Niro

Wake Forest University (May 18) – Stephen Colbert

University of Houston (May 15) -- Matthew McConaughey

Harvard University (May 27) -- Natalie Portman

Fashion Institute of Technology (May 21) -- Brooke Shields

Colby College (May 24) -- Robert Redford

University of Virginia (May 15-16) – Ed Helms, Governor Terry McAuliffe

Tulane University (May 16) – Maya Rudolph

University of Wisconsin–Madison (May 16) – Katie Couric

George Washington University (May 17) – Tim Cook (CEO of Apple)

Pepperdine University (May 2) -- Anthony Hopkins

Dillard University (May 9) -- Denzel Washington

Rutgers University (May 17) -- Bill Nye

Strayer University (May 16) -- Steve Harvey

University of Georgia (May 8) – Amy Robach (news anchor for Good Morning America)

Stanford University (June 14) – Richard Engel (chief foreign correspondent at NBC News)

Case Western Reserve University (May 17) – Barry Meyer (retired Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO)

Emory University (May 11) – Kenneth Cole, Sir Salman Rushdie 

Southern Methodist University (May 16) – George W. Bush

American InterContinental University (Aug. 8) -- Blair Underwood

Harvard University (May 28) – Deval Patrick (former governor of Massachusetts)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (June 5) – Megan Smith (chief technology officer for the United States)

Washington University in St. Louis (May 15) -- Ken Burns

UC Berekely (May 16) -- Marc Benioff (chairman and CEO of Salesforce) 

Duke University (May 10) – Dr. Paul Farmer (co-founder of Partners in Health)

University of Pennsylvania (May 18) – Samantha Power (U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, Pulitzer Prize-winning author)

Northwestern University (June 19) – Virginia Rometty (CEO of IBM)

University of Notre Dame (May 17) – Christopher Patten (Oxford University Chancellor)

Vanderbilt University (May 8) – Walter Isaacson (president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, formerly CEO of CNN and editor of TIME)

University of Southern California (May 15) – Mellody Hobson (chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation, director of Estée Lauder and Starbucks Corporation)

Tufts University (May 17) – Madeleine Albright (former first woman U.S. Secretary of State)

Rice University (May 16) -- Colin Powell

Georgetown University (May 14-17) -- Ban Ki-Moon, John Lewis, Charlie Rose

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (May 10) – Jason Kilar (co-founder and CEO of Hulu, Vessel)

College of William and Mary (May 16) – Condoleezza Rice 

University of Rochester (May 17) – Deborah Bial (founder and president of The Posse Foundation)

Georgia Institute of Technology (May 2) – Arne Duncan (U.S. Secretary of Education), General Philip M. Breedlove 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (May 16) – Risa Lavizzo Mourey (president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

University of San Diego (May 16-24) – Roshan PaulAl Carey (CEO of PepsiCo), Lynn Schenk (former U.S. representative, CA), Father Greg Boyle

University of California, Santa Barbara (June 13-14) – Ashley Conrad (Cal EPA), Howard Wenger (SunPower Corporation), Jose Hernandez (NASA astronaut), Josh Elliott (TV journalist), Dr. Mike North (Discovery Channel host and founder of ReAllocate)

Marquette University (May 17) – Sister Margaret “Peggy” O’Neill

Miami University (May 16) – Bonnie St. John (author, Paralympic skiing medalist, and former White House official)

University of California, Santa Cruz (June 14) – Hector Tobar, James Daitri, Sige Gutman, Julia Swig, Sheila Davis 

University of Denver (June 6) – Michael Bennet (United States Senator for Colo.)

California Institute of Technology (June 12) – Daniel Yergin

Rice University (May 16) – Colin Powell

University of Michigan (May 2) – Paul Saginaw, Ari Weinzweig (co-owners and founding partners of Zingerman’s Community of Business – Ann Arbor)

John Hopkins University (May 21) -- Ed Catmull (president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Virginia Tech (May 15) -- Eric Schmidt (executive chairman of Google)

Lehigh University (May 18) and Vanderbilt University (May 8) – Walter Isaacson

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (May 30) – Admiral Michelle Howard (vice chief of Naval Operations) 

University of Texas at Austin (May 23) – Darren Walker (president of the Ford Foundation)

University of Connecticut (May 9-10) – Timothy Scott Case (founding CTO of Priceline), Helen Hays (biologist), Barbara Medoff-Cooper (chair of Pediatric Nursing at UPenn), Michael Melio (Western Piedmont Metal and United American Steel Company), Harriet Sanford (president and CEO of National Education Association), Robert Schiller (professor at Yale, 2013 Nobel Prize recipient for Economic Sciences), Anne Tanner (dentist and microbiologist), Leslie Uggams (musician and actress), Peter Werth (founder of ChemWerth Inc.)

Clark University (May 17) – Matt Goldman (co-founder of the Blue Man Group)

University of Vermont (May 17) – Nina Totenberg (American legal affairs correspondent for NPR)

Boston University (May 17) -- Meredith Vieira

Yale University (May 17) -- Joe Biden

Columbia University (May 20) -- Beau Willimon (speaker for Columbia's School of the Arts)

Rutgers University (May 17) -- Bill Nye

American University (May 9-10) – William Reilly (senior advisor, TPG Capital and Former Administrator of EPA), Sheila Johnson (founding partner of BET), Kathryn Sullivan (under secretary of commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere), Mark Weinberger (global chairman and CEO of EY), Robert Smith (founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners), Thomas Goldstein (Supreme Court practitioner)

Pennsylvania State University (May 8-10) -- Madeleine Dean (state rep.), Cameron Conaway, John J. Feraco (director of expandable styrenics, NOVA Chemicals, Corp.), Madlyn L. Hanes (vice president for Commonwealth Campuses, Penn State), Seth Williams (Philadelphia district attorney), Donald B. Verrilli (U.S. solicitor general), Kelly Ayote (U.S. Senator from New Hampshire), Jonathan C. Hall (senior lecturer in physics), Anthony Gold, Andrew Butcher (chief executive officer and co-founder of GTECH Strategies), James R. Hoehn (regional president of PNC Bank), John Colaneri, Bradford C. Berk, Blair Underwood, Cindy Adams Dunn, Dennis Yablonsky, Robert S. Carl Jr., Lora Adams-King, Daniel J. Eichenlaub, O. Richard "Dick" Bundy, Jerome Griffith, Jayne Jamison (senior vice president and publisher of O, The Oprah Magazine), Joel Darmstadter, V. Darleen Opfer, Todd Erdley, Jane Isaacs Lowe, David Rusenko (co-founder and CEO of, Katherine Rhodes, Ann Kolanowski, Dr. Theodore I. Steinman, Eric J. Barron, Christian Brady, Kristopher Jones, Kim Kingsley, Keith D. Noll

Dartmouth College (June 14) -- David Brooks (writer at The New York Times)

University of Washington (June 13) -- Christine Gregoire (former state governor)

University of Chicago (June 13) -- Kenneth Pomeranz

University of California, Los Angeles (June 12) -- Nathan Myhrvold

University of Delaware (May 30) -- David DeWalt

Vassar College (May 31) -- Arianna Huffington