Former Vice President Al Gore to speak at spring commencement

Sunday, March 8, 2020 - 8:30pm

Al Gore gives a lecture on Global Climate Change at the Power Center in 2005.

Al Gore gives a lecture on Global Climate Change at the Power Center in 2005. Buy this photo
File Photo/Daily

Al Gore, vice president to former President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, will speak at the University of Michigan Spring Commencement May 2 at Michigan Stadium.

In 2000, Gore was the Democratic candidate for president and lost to Republican George W. Bush. 

A University press release announcing his appearance emphasized Gore’s environmental work. In 2007, Gore was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for highlighting climate issues.

“As vice president from 1993 to 2001, Gore helped negotiate the Kyoto Protocol that committed industrialized nations to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the press release reads. “He also championed science and technology.”

The 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth” featured Gore and his effort to convince people about the urgency of climate change. It won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Gore is also the author of several books on global warming and the controversial politics surrounding the issue.

Currently, Gore is the co-founder and chair of Generation Investment, an investment firm that emphasizes sustainability, and Climate Reality, which works to combat global warming. 

He also serves on Apple Inc.’s board of directors and as a senior partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

Prior to becoming Vice President, Gore served two terms in the Senate and four terms in the House of Representatives for Tennessee.

LSA senior Amanda Gross said she was excited to have Gore serve as the speaker, noting his environmental advocacy and political legacy.

“It’s incredible to have someone who has never been afraid to speak up about the realities of climate change and who has worked so hard to try to champion positive changes for not only our nation but the world,” Gross said. 

LSA senior Yosef Gross, no relation to Amanda Gross, commented on Gore’s political legacy and the impact of his environmental policies on the upcoming election. 

“I think he has the potential to be a really good choice as the commencement speaker because his own political experience is so relevant to what’s happening this political cycle,” Gross said. “When I think about Gore conceding the presidency to Bush in 2000 to make sure that the country could move forward, even though he believed that the election had been stolen from him, I can’t help but notice the contrast with our current president, who I believe would never do the same. 

Additionally, actress and playwright Dominique Morisseau, a University alum and Detroit native, will be the Rackham Graduate School speaker at its commencement on May 1 at Hill Auditorium. 

Morisseau, a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grant,” has written numerous plays, including several about Detroit. 

She has maintained close ties with the University, performing her 2017 play “Blood at the Root” at the University’s Arthur Miller Theatre.

Currently, Morisseau is a playwright in Signature Theatre’s Residency Five program in New York City.

“Morisseau is one of America’s most produced playwrights, acclaimed for her lyrical dialogue, emotionally complex characters and authentic portrayals of people and communities struggling with economic and social change,” the press release reads.

Daily News Editor Claire Hao can be reached at cmhao@umich.edu.