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May 07, 2016

It's graduation season, and schools across New England are preparing for their commencement exercises. This year, commencement speakers at Boston-area colleges include governors, actors, news media personalities and global leaders.

At Northeastern University's commencement ceremony on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry addressed more than 25,000 graduates, urging them to take on the world's most urgent problems.

"The greatest challenges that our world confronts are best addressed - and in some cases can only be addressed - by good and capable people working in common cause with citizens of other nations," Kerry said.

Here's a list of graduation speakers at Boston-area colleges and universities:

Assumption College

Speaker: Dr. Carolyn Woo, President & CEO of Catholic Relief Services

Babson College

Speakers: Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner

Becker College

Speaker: Dr. Emmett D. Carson, Founder & CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Berklee College of Music

Speaker: Rita Moreno, actor and singer

Boston College

Speaker: Dr. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy 

Boston University

Speaker: Nina Tassler, former chairman for CBS Entertainment

Brandeis University

Speaker: Julieanna Richardson, founder and Executive Director of The HistoryMakers

Bridgewater State University

Speakers: Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator & James T. Brett, President & CEO of The New England Council

Bunker Hill Community College

Speaker: Marty Walsh, Boston Mayor

Clark University

Speaker: Catalina Escobar, Founder and Director of the Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation

The College of Our Lady of the Elms

Speaker: Dr. James O’Connell, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School & President of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) 

College of the Holy Cross

Speaker: Harry K. Thomas Jr., United States ambassador to Zimbabwe

Emerson College

Speaker: Alice Sebold, Novelist 

Emmanuel College

Speaker: Rev. Liz Walker, minister and journalist 

Fisher College

Speaker: Alek Skarlatos, American Oregon Army National Guardsman specialist who stopped a gunman on a Paris-bound train in August, 2015 

Framingham State

Speakers: Chris Herren, former Boston Celtic & Founder of the Herrin Project 

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Speaker: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist 

Harvard University

Speaker: Steven Spielberg, director, producer & screenwriter

Related: A Behind-The Scenes Look At Commencement Speeches

Lesley University

Speakers: Richard Blanco, poet & Nick Cave, artist 

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Speakers: Charles Blow, New York Times columnist & Philip Freelon, architect

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Speaker: Matt Damon, actor 

Merrimack College

Speakers: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

Mount Holyoke College

Speaker: Joia Mukherjee, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Master of Medical Science Global Health Delivery Program and the Program in Global Medical Education and Social Change

Mount Ida College

Speaker: Steve Pemberton, Vice president & Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance 

New England College of Optometry

Speaker: Niki Tsongas, United States Representative 

Newbury College

Speaker: Karyn Polito, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor 

Nichols College

Speaker: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

Northeastern University

Speaker: John F. Kerry, United States Secretary of State 

Salem State University

Speaker: Micho Spring, president of Weber Shandwick - New England region

School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Speaker: Gonzalo Fuenmayor, artist

Simmons College

Speakers: Michelle Alexander, author

Smith College

Speaker: Megan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer 

Tufts University

Speaker: Hank Azaria, actor 

Springfield College

Speaker: Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics 

Suffolk University

Speaker: Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator

UMass Amherst

Speaker: Wayne Chang, Director of Product Strategy at Twitter

UMass Boston

Speaker: Seth Moulton, United States Representative

UMass Lowell

Speakers: Judy Woodruff, co-anchor of “PBS NewsHour” & Keith Lockhart, conductor of Boston Pops

Wellesley College

Speaker: Lulu Chow Wang, Founder & CEO of Tupelo Capital Management 

Williams College

Speaker: Bryan Stevenson, Founder of Equal Justice Initiative

Wentworth Institute of Technology 

Speaker: Christine Keville, President and CEO of Keville Enterprises, Inc.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Speakers: Reshma Saujani, Founder and President of Girls Who Code 

Earlier: At Wellesley, A Conservative, A Libertarian, And Some Liberals Walk Into A Classroom

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