At this year's College of the Arts and Sciences graduation, two influential political figures will be in attendance: 1968 Wharton graduate and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden.
But these dignitaries won't be there to address the graduates; they'll simply be sitting in the crowd of parents and grandparents.
Trump's daughter Tiffany and the vice president’s granddaughter Naomi are among the 1,500 students graduating from the College on May 15.
Security will be especially tight at the event. Families are recommended to arrive two hours early to get through security at Franklin Field for the 6:30 p.m. graduation. The Division of Public Safety told Philly.com that Penn Police will be working with the Secret Service and city police to prepare for the event, which could include protesters.
Vice President for University Communications Steve MacCarthy said Penn often hosts dignitaries so the University, DPS and the Secret Service are ready with the necessary procedures.
Biden and Trump are not expected to attend the main University Commencement on May 16 where Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree. "Hamilton" just received a record 16 Tony nominations this week, while Miranda recently won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his musical.
Biden has visited Penn a number of times, most recently in January to meet with scientists at the Abramson Cancer Center. Biden also attended the Penn graduations of his daughter Ashley, a 2010 graduate from the School of Social Policy & Practice, and his son Beau, a 1991 College graduate, who died last year from brain cancer.
Trump has also visited Penn to see his son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka graduate from Wharton in 2000 and 2004 respectively.
"Regardless of the fact that people will have to arrive earlier than they might otherwise, we hope that everything else will go as it would typically go for the ceremony," MacCarthy said.
He added, "The ceremony is about the graduates. Neither of the men want to be the attraction here and we are going to accommodate to this in every way we can and align with every security considerations the secret service wants us to follow."
This article was last updated on May 4 at 5:48 p.m. Check back for updates.Comments powered by Disqus
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