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College graduate Lauren Hitt, the communications director for Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will be the alumni speaker at the Communication Major Graduation Ceremony this spring.

Lauren Hitt, communications director for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), will be the featured alumni speaker at the Communication Major Graduation Ceremony on May 14. 

Hitt graduated from the College in 2013 as a communication major, according to the announcement made on March 17. Since 2020, Hitt has served as Ocasio-Cortez’s primary spokesperson and media strategist. 

While at Penn, Hitt's passion for political communications grew after taking various courses with Annenberg School professors such as Kathleen Hall Jamieson, David Eisenhower, and Diana Mutz

“I still remember chatting about how a Saturday Night Live performance affected attitudes in the 2008 presidential race,” Hitt said in the announcement about Jamieson's introductory course on political communications. 

Hitt was also a part of Penn's Communication and Public Service Program. She completed her thesis, advised by Eisenhower and Dean John L. Jackson Jr., on comparing messaging between then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's state health insurance rollout and former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. 

“Lauren's work at Annenberg foreshadowed the extraordinary work she has done since — work that reflects the ideals of the University of Pennsylvania and of the Annenberg School,” Eisenhower said in the announcement. 

As an undergraduate, Hitt began her career working on the 2012 Obama re-election campaign. After graduating, she worked for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney as communications director from 2015 to 2018.

Following working for Kenney, she left to help various Democrats in the 2018 midterms. 

Hitt describes the invitation to speak at the graduation ceremony as a “very kind honor.” 

“My commencement speaker told a story about how she quit her first job after college less than a week in, realizing she was in the wrong place,” Hitt said in the announcement. “I ended up doing just about the same thing, and I will always remember that!”

Hitt follows the list of notable speakers who have attended the communication major graduation ceremony. Last year, 2002 College graduate and journalist Jo Piazza delivered the address.