The Office of the Dean of the College, in consultation with representatives of the senior class, select potential speakers a year in advance, rank them and then extend invitations in a timely manner. When a decision is reached and a speaker secured, the President makes an announcement to the community in the spring.
Recent commencement speakers:
2016 - Nicholas D. Kristof, Journalist, and 2-time Pulitzer Prize Winner
2015 - Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (view his speech)
2014 - Marian Wright Edelman, Founder, and President,
Children’s Defense Fund. A copy of Dr. Edelman’s Commencement address is available here.
2013 - Retired Lt. General and Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire
2012- Dr. Martin Seligman, noted psychologist
2011: Timoth Egan, New York Times correspondent and author.
2010: Mark Plotkin, Amazon Conversation Team
2009: Ray Suarez, author, journalist
2008: Greg Mortenson, author, Three Cups of Tea
2007: Vivian Gusin Paley, noted child psychologist, University of Chicago
2006: Charles Johnson, S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Professor for Excellence in English, University of Washington.
2005: Josef Joffe, Publisher of Die Zeit
2004: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institutes of Health
2003: Ted Kulongoski, Governor, State of Oregon
2002: Ambassador Christopher Ross, Special Coordinator for Public Diplomacy and Deputy to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
2001: Lech Walesa, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Poland
2000: Dr. Ben O. Canada, Superintendent, Portland Public Schools
1999: Heidi Heitkamp, Attorney General, North Dakota,JD, Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College ’80
1998: Brian Lamb, Chair & Chief Executive Officer, Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN)
1997: Jack Ward Thomas, Chief, U.S. Forest Service (retired)