NBC News’ Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and 1967 Penn graduate Andrea Mitchell will give the commencement speech at the 2018 graduation ceremony slated for May this year.
Her reporting for NBC News has spanned seven presidencies and included coverage of foreign policy and Congress. She anchors her own show, “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on weekdays, and regularly appears on other notable programs like “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
“We are honored to bestow our highest degree on award-winning journalist Andrea Mitchell, one of Penn’s own, and have her address our graduates at Penn’s 262nd Commencement,” said President Amy Gutmann to Penn Current.
Mitchell, who graduated from Penn’s College for Women with a degree in English, is also the chair of the Penn Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers and a University Trustee Emerita. She has long had close ties with the University, participating in a range of different initiatives.
On Feb. 8, Mitchell will appear alongside former Vice President Joe Biden for the opening of the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
In August of last year, Mitchell and her husband, former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, decided to endow Penn with the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. The Center has been continuing the work of the Penn Program on Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Citizenship, which was launched in 2006 to encourage research on these topics.
Mitchell said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian at the time that the Center is “non-partisan.”
But as a public figure, Mitchell has grown increasingly prominent as a critic of fellow Penn graduate, President Donald Trump. In March 2016, she said the 1968 Wharton graduate is “completely uneducated” about the world; in April 2017, she told Politico that Trump has the most hostile attitude to the press among all the seven Presidents she has covered; and in October of last year, she said at a summit in D.C. that “the fight is on” with Trump.
In recent years, Penn’s choice of commencement speaker has sparked conversations over ideological and intellectual diversity on campus. Days before graduation in 2017, students were still debating the choice of Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a frequent critic of Donald Trump, as the University’s commencement speaker.
Some pointed out that nearly all of the commencement speakers of previous years have had political leanings to the left. Past speakers include: Biden, John Legend, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers and actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The announcement from the University also included a list of honorary degree recipients. The list includes Peggy Noonan, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of Chobani.