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ND Quick Facts > Commencement Speakers

Information compiled through 2002 from Go Forth and Do Good: Memorable Notre Dame Commencement Addresses, selected, edited and introduced by Wilson D. Miscamble. University Archivists have added to the list since then.


1844-1869 Speakers can be identified only for certain years
1861 Rev. Dr. John McMullen Priest and teacher from Chicago
1865 William Tecumseh Sherman Union General
1867 Corcoran Editor of The Cincinnati Telegraph
1870 Paul Broder Professor from Beloit College, Wisconsin
1871 Hon. A. C. Dodge U.S. Senator from Iowa
1872 Rt. Rev. Joseph Dwenger Bishop of Fort Wayne, Indiana
1873 John J. Fitzgibbon Editor of The Western Catholic
1874 Hon. S. S. Hayes Comptroller from City of Chicago
1875 Hon. J. S. Morris from Vicksburg, Mississippi
1876 William J. Onahan Chicago Catholic activist and businessman
1877 Hon. Frank H. Hurd Former U.S. Congressman
1878 Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding Bishop of Peoria, Illinois
1879 No commencement exercises
1880 Hon. Edmund F. Dunne Former Chief Justice of Arizona
1881 Hon. W. W. Cleary from Covington, Kentucky
1882 Rt. Rev. Francis S. Chatard Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana
1883 Rt. Rev. John A. Watterson Bishop of Columbus, Ohio
1884 Rt. Rev. Ignacio Montes De Oca y Obregon Bishop of Linares, Mexico
1885 The scheduled speaker Major General William S. Rosecrans canceled his commitment due to duties in Washington, D.C.
1886 Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding Bishop of Peoria, Illinois
1887 Wm. H. Johnston  Alumnus from East Townsend, Ohio
1888 Rev. P. F. Carr  from Denver, Colorado
1889 William P. Breen Alumnus from Fort Wayne, Indiana
1890 Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding Bishop of Peoria, Illinois
1891 Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding Bishop of Peoria, Illinois
1892 Rt. Rev. J. S. Foley Bishop of Detroit, Michigan
1893 Rev. Msgr. Robert Seton Priest from the diocese of Newark, N.J.
1894 Rt. Rev. John A. Watterson Bishop of Columbus, Ohio
1895 Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding Bishop of Peoria, Illinois
1896 Hon. Thomas A. Moran Judge from Chicago
1897 Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Mooney Priest from the Archdiocese of New York
1898 Rt. Rev. Maurice F. Burke Bishop of St. Joseph, Missouri
1899 Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding Bishop of Peoria, Illinois
1900 Rt. Rev. John J. Glennon Bishop of Kansas City, Missouri
1901 Rt. Rev. John Shanley Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota
1902 Hon. William P. Breen A.B. ’77,A.M. ’80 from Fort Wayne, Indiana
1903 Hon. John M. Gearin Attorney from Portland, Oregon
1904 Hon. Charles Joseph Bonaparte Attorney, Progressive reformer, member of the Board of Indian Commissioners
1905 Hon. Marcus A. Kavanagh Judge from Chicago
1906 Rev. D. J. Stafford Priest and lecturer from Washington, D.C.
1907 Rev. John Talbot Smith Priest, author, lecturer from New York City
1908 Hon. Charles P. Neill U.S. Commissioner of Labor
1909 Hon. Hannis Taylor Former U.S. Minister to Spain, authority on international law
1910 Hon. Thomas Riley Marshall Governor of Indiana
1911 Sir Charles Fitzpatrick Chief Justice of the Domination of Canada
1912 Rt. Rev. Thomas F. Hickey Bishop of Rochester, New York
1913 Hon. James M. Cox Governor of Ohio
1914 Hon. Joseph E. Ransdell U.S. Senator from Louisiana
1915 John F. Fitzgerald Former Mayor of Boston
1916 Hon. Martin Joseph Wade Judge of the United States District Court of Iowa
1917 Rt. Rev. Joseph Chartrand Coadjutor, Bishop of Indianapolis
1918 Edward N. Hurley Chairman of the U.S. Shipping Board
1919 Monsignor F. B. D. Bickerstaffe-Drew English was chaplain and novelist
1920 Hon. Morgan Joseph O’Brien New York City 
1921 Hon. David I. Walsh U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
1922 Kickham Scanlan Chief Justice of the Criminal Court, Chicago
1923 Thomas Lindsey Blayney Rice Institute, Huston
1924 Hon. Woodbridge Nathan Ferris U.S. Senator from Michigan
1925 Edmond H. Moore Democratic National Committee member and attorney from Youngstown, Ohio
1926 Judge Dudley G. Wooten Professor of Law in Hoynes College of Law, Notre Dame
1927 Alfred J. Talley Judge, New York City
1928 Francis O’Shaughnessy Attorney, Chicago
1929 Col. W. Donovan Former Assistant Attorney General of the United States and war hero from Buffalo, New York
1930 Claude G. Bowers Author, editor, orator
1931 Angus D. McDonald Treasurer of the United States Railroad Commission
1932 Owen D. Young New York City financier
1933 Hon. Paul V. McNutt Governor of Indiana
1934 Hon. Frank C. Walker Chairman of the Council on Emergency Relief
1935 Shane Leslie Essayist, dramatist, lecturer
1936 Dr. William J. Mayo Cofounder of Mayo Clinic
1937 Dennis F. Kelly President of The Fair, a Chicago department store
1938 Hon. Terence Byrne Cosgrove Attorney, San Fransico
1939 William Henry Harrison Vice-President and Chief Engineer of AT&T
1940 Hon. David Worth Clark U.S. Senator from Idaho
1941 Joseph P. Kennedy Former Ambassador to England
1942 J. Edgar Hoover Director of the F.B.I.
1942 Winter William F. Jeffers
1943 Rev. Arthur J. Hope, CSC Author and editor
1943 Winter Hon. Harry F. Kelly Former Governor of Michigan (1917)
1944 Rev. Thomas J. Brennan, CSC Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy
1945 Rev. Phillip S. Moore, CSC Dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School
1946 George Sokolsky Columnist
1947 General George C. Kenney Chief of the Strategic Air Command
1948 Paul G. Hoffman Director of Economic Cooperation Administration, Washington, D.C.
1949 John Stephen Burke President of B. Allman & Company, New York City
1950 Winter John F. Kennedy Congressman
1950 John J. Hearne Ambassador of Ireland to the U.S.
1951 Hon. Francis Patrick Matthews Secretary of the Navy
1952 Dr. Charles Malik Minister of Lebanon to the U.S.
1953 Dr. Detlev W. Bronk President of the Johns Hopkins University
1954 James R. Killian President of M.I.T.
1955 Herbert Brownell Attorney General of the United States
1956 Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy
1957 Hon. Earl Warren Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
1958 Hon. James P. Mitchell Secretary of Labor
1959 John McCone Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission
1960 Dwight D. Eisenhower President of the United States
1961 Robert Sargent Shriver Jr. Director of the Peace Corps
1962 Henry Cabot Lodge Former Ambassador to the United Nations
1963 Hon. Lester B. Pearson Prime Minister of Canada
1964 Hon. Thomas C. Mann Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
1965 McGeorge Bundy Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
1966 Lady Jackson (Barbara Ward) Economist, London, England
1967 Eugene J. McCarthy U.S. Senator from Minnesota 
1968 Dr. James A. Perkins President of Cornell University
1969 Dr. Daniel P. Moynihan Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs
1970 Hon. James E. Allen Jr. U.S. Commissioner of Education
1971 Dr. Kenneth Keniston Yale Medical School
1972 Dr. Kingman Brewster Jr. President of Yale University
1973 Dr. Malcolm C. Moos President of the University of Minnesota
1974 Dr. Rosemary Park Professor of Education, UCLA
1975 Alan J. Pifer President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
1976 Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Executive Director of the National Urban League
1977 Jimmy Carter President of the United States
1978 William F. Buckley Jr. Editor of The National Review
1979 Joseph A. Califano Jr. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
1980 Benjamin Civiletti Attorney General of the United States
1981 Ronald Reagan President of the United States
1982 Pierre Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada
1983 Joseph Cardinal Bernadin Archbishop of Chicago
1984 Loret Miller Ruppe Director of the Peace Corps 
1985 Jose Napoleon Duarte Fuentes President of El Salvador
1986 Bishop James W. Malone Bishop of Youngstown and President, United States Catholic Conference
1987 Derek Bok President of Harvard University
1988 Andrew Jackson Young Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia
1989 Peter Ueberroth Commissioner of Major League Baseball
1990 Bill Cosby Actor and producer
1991 Margaret O'Brien Steinfels Editor of Commonweal
1992 George H.W. Bush President of the United States
1993 Tom Brokaw NBC News Anchor
1994 Albert Reynolds Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland
1995 Condoleezza Rice Provost of Stanford University
1996 Mary Ann Glendon Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University
1997 Mark Shields Political Commentator and columnist
1998 Joseph F. Kernan Indiana Lieutenant Governor
1999 Elizabeth Dole Former President of the American Red Cross
2000 Kofi Annan Secretary of the United Nations
2001 George W. Bush President of the United States
2002 Tim Russert Host of NBC's Meet the Press
2003 Richard Lugar U.S. Senator from Indiana
2004 Alan Page Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court
2005 Vartan Gregorian President of the Carnegie Corporation
2006 Mary McAleese President of Ireland
2007 Jeffrey Immelt CEO of General Electric
2008 Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C.
2009 Barack Obama President of the United States
2010 Brian Williams Anchor of NBC Nightly News
2011 Robert Gates Secretary of Defense
2012 Haley Scott DeMaria Alumna and Motivational Speaker
2013 Cardinal Timothy Dolan Archbishop of New York
2014 Reverend Ray Hammond II Founder of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
2015 Christopher Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes) Chancellor of the University of Oxford
2016 General Martin E. Dempsey Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
2017 Mike Pence Vice-President of the United States
2018 Judge Sérgio Moro Judge from Curitiba, Brazil
2019 Peggy Noonan Columnist, speechwriter
2020 - cancelled due to Covid Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
2020 - delivered in 2022 John Crowley Advocate, entrepreneur
2021 Jimmy Dunne Notre Dame Trustee
2022 Archbishop Borys Gudziak President of Ukrainian Catholic University