Commencement Speakers

By the Numbers: Commencement Edition

Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington will address the Class of 2011 at Penn’s 255th Commencement on Monday, May 16. Washington joins a long list of distinguished guests who have addressed grads, including politicians, entertainers, academics, businessmen and women, scientists, judges, doctors, religious figures and civil rights pioneers.

In this edition of By The Numbers, we tip our mortarboards to Penn Commencement Speakers.


Number of Penn graduates who worked at Google as of 2009. Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, delivered the Commencement Address in 2009.


Year actress Jodie Foster graduated from Yale. At the conclusion of her 2006 Commencement Address, she quoted from Eminem’s song, “Lose Yourself.”


Place from the bottom that U.S. Senator John McCain graduated in the United States Naval Academy Class of 1958. McCain delivered the Commencement Address in 2001, and admitted so during his speech.


Number of words in Bono’s 2004 Commencement Address. He began with, “My name is Bono and I am a rock star. Don’t get me too excited because I use four letter words when I get excited.”


Intensity in temperature hotter than the surface of the sun of the first nuclear weapons test in history. Afterwards, J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project, recalled a line from Hindu scripture: “Now, I am become Death, the Destroyer of worlds.” He delivered a Penn Commencement Address in February of 1946.

Originally published on April 7, 2011