Nearly 10,000 students will receive their diplomas in Ohio Stadium May 5, taking their next steps as the world’s next generation of leaders.
And they’ll get an added bit of inspiration from the top as President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address.
Obama is the third sitting president to deliver Ohio State’s commencement address. George W. Bush spoke to spring quarter graduates in 2002. Gerald Ford spoke to summer quarter graduates shortly after ascending to the presidency in 1974. In addition, both George H. W. Bush and Walter Mondale spoke to graduates when they were vice president. Bill Clinton spoke to graduates in 2007, after he left office.
Having the president as commencement speaker means additional security measures will be in place. Admission tickets will be required for all guests, though graduates do not need a ticket.
The ceremony, which begins at noon, celebrates the academic achievements, dedication and commitment that each student has put forth to earn his or her degree. Diplomas will be given individually to each graduate, a practice rarely attempted by a university the size of Ohio State.
Also during the commencement ceremony, honorary doctorates will be presented to President Obama; Annie Leibovitz, one of the most influential photographers of our time; Thomas Pollard, a professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University; and Reinhard Rummel, who has dedicated his career to determining Earth’s gravity field with the utmost accuracy.
Distinguished Service Awards will be presented to Carole Anderson, who has dedicated more than 25 years to Ohio State, both as a key administrator and a distinguished professor in the health sciences; George Skestos, who has three decades of leadership and philanthropy at the university and in the central Ohio community; and Justine “Tina” Skestos, a devoted public servant and Ohio State ambassador.
The ceremony is the culmination of a weeklong celebration known as Commencement Week at Ohio State, when graduating seniors can mark their final days here through a series of special events.
Many of the events (listed at commencementweek.osu.edu/tour/tour/things_you_never_got_to_s), including an opportunity to climb the Orton Bell Tower, are for graduates and not members of the general public.
One highlight that is open to anyone is the Commencement Eve Candlelight Ceremony at 9 p.m. May 4 on the Oval. Speakers will include campus celebrities and students selected to deliver an address that reflects on their time at Ohio State.
The event concludes with a candlelight rendition of Carmen Ohio.