University announces speakers for Spring Commencement and Rackham Graduation Exercises

Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 11:20pm

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver the University of Michigan's Spring Commencement address.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver the University of Michigan's Spring Commencement address. Buy this photo
Alec Cohen/Daily

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will be delivering the University of Michigan’s spring commencement address for the Ann Arbor campus. Additionally, Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman will be delivering the address for the Rackham Graduate School events. The Board of Regents will approve the honorary degree recipients for spring commencement during their upcoming March 28 meeting.

Whitmer is a lifelong Michigander who was elected as Michigan’s 49th governor in November 2018 after previously serving in the state House of Representatives from 2001-06 and state Senate from 2006-2015. Her address will make her the sixth sitting governor to speak at a commencement in the past 40 years. Her legislative achievements included an increase in the minimum wage with a cost-of-living adjustment and health coverage expansion to more than 680,000 residents.

Additionally, Whitmer has taught at the University, as well as at Michigan State University.

Kellie Lounds, Public Policy senior and former chair of College Democrats, told The Daily Whitmer’s presence could send a powerful message.

“Personally, I’m thrilled that Governor Whitmer will be our commencement speaker,” Lounds wrote in a text message. “College Dems campaigned hard for her in the fall and it’s been incredible to see her hit the ground running in her efforts to set Michigan on the right track and make it a state that works for everyone. Governor Whitmer’s presence at our commencement also has the potential to send a powerful message about how critical our public universities are to the success of our state and about the importance she places on making Michigan a state where college graduates want to stay and grow for the long term.”

Along with receiving the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Scheckman is also a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research investigates the mechanism of protein traffic in the secretory pathway in eukaryotic cells. He has also received multiple awards, including Gairdner International Award and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.

Spring commencement for the Ann Arbor campus will take place on May 4 at the Michigan Stadium. Rackham Graduate Exercises will occur on May 3 for individuals obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree from Rackham.