Barack Obama to Deliver Virtual Graduation Commencement Speeches - Rolling Stone
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Barack Obama to Deliver Virtual Graduation Commencement Speeches

Former President’s speeches will be premiered on TV and streamed on YouTube

Former U.S. President Barack Obama gesture as he attends the "values-based leadership" during a plenary session of the Gathering of Rising Leaders in the Asia Pacific, organized by the Obama Foundation in Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaObama, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - 13 Dec 2019

Former President Barack Obama will deliver two virtual graduation commencement speeches on May 16th and June 6th.

Vincent Thian/AP/Shutterstock

UPDATE 6/5/2020: The Dear Class of 2020 has been rescheduled to Sunday, June 7th at noon E.T., in honor of George Floyd’s memorial service on June 6th.

UPDATE 5/19/2020: More participants have been added to the Dear Class of 2020 event on June 6th, including Beyoncé, who will “deliver an inspirational message to the 2020 class,” according to YouTube. Taylor Swift will also be making a virtual appearance at the event, as will Lala Anthony, Andy Cohen, Lana Condor, Misty Copeland, Kevin Durant, Finneas, Bill and Melinda Gates, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Hasan Minhaj, Janelle Monáe, Antoni Porowski, Billy Porter, Phoebe Robinson, Yara Shahidi, Michael Strahan, Ciara and Russell Wilson, the cast of Euphoria, the cast of RiverdaleToday‘s Jenna Bush Hager and Natalie Morales, and YouTube creators Emma ChamberlainJohn GreenNikkieTutorials, and Mark Rober.


Former President Barack Obama will deliver two virtual graduation commencement speeches: one on television on May 16th and another via YouTube on June 6th.

On May 16th, Obama will take part in the televised event Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, congratulating over three million high school seniors while reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic and the new ways students have adjusted to learning. It will premiere on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX at 8 pm E.T.

His speech will be given alongside LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, Bad Bunny, Pharrell Williams, the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, Megan Rapinoe, H.E.R., Ben Platt and others.

The event is hosted by the LeBron James Family Foundation, XQ Institute and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. “This high school graduation season will be anything but ordinary — but that’s all the more reason why the Class of 2020 deserves extraordinary advice, heartfelt encouragement and hard-won wisdom about facing new challenges in an uncertain world,” Russlynn Ali, CEO and co-founder of XQ Institute, said in a statement. “We are grateful to President Obama for giving this gift to our nation’s three million high school seniors as they #GraduateTogether.”

On June 6th, the former President will participate in Dear Class of 2020, a YouTube event that also includes speeches by Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, BTS, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and others, with an appearance by Alicia Keys.

“Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement,” Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s Global Head of Original Content, said in a statement. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”


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