Barnard College nabs Barack Obama for commencement

Barack Obama

Barnard students better pay attention to this year’s commencement speech — it’s going to be presidential.

President Barack Obama will be speaking on Columbia University’s South Lawn at Barnard College’s commencement, the school announced on Saturday.

Barnard, an independent liberal arts women’s college, is one of the four undergraduate schools of Columbia University. President Obama graduated from Columbia in 1983.

“Each year, President Obama selects a small number of schools at which to deliver commencement addresses,” Barnard president Deborah Spar said in a letter. “This year, the president has chosen Barnard College.”

She said that President Obama’s visit will be “a thrill” and was a “testament to the collective achievement of all Barnard graduates.”

The college will present the president with a Barnard Medal of Distinction, the college’s highest honor, at the ceremony.

The college’s last three commencement speakers were Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, the actress Meryl Streep and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, was previously scheduled to be the school’s keynote speaker. The school has said that it plans to have her back at Barnard at a later date.

The president has until May 14 to perfect his address.

All of New York can listen to the commencement speech as well, as Spar has promised to make the commander-in-chief’s address available online.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyAEpstein


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