Award-winning journalist Soledad M. O’Brien ’88-’00 will be this year’s Class Day speaker, the Senior Class Committee announced Tuesday night.
O’Brien, a former CNN anchor and Cabot House resident, will deliver remarks to the Class of 2013 in Tercentenary Theatre on May 29, the day before Commencement. She will headline the Class Day ceremony, which will also feature Harvard and Ivy orations delivered by four graduating seniors.
First Class Marshal Nina M. Yancy ’13 said she was thrilled by O’Brien’s selection.
“We had the chance to speak over the weekend with Soledad and get to know her a bit, and she was just so fantastic,” Yancy said.
O’Brien has strong ties to the University. After coming to Harvard as an undergraduate, she took time off during her senior year in 1988 before returning to school in 2000 to complete her degree. In the upcoming school year, O’Brien will be a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
“It’s awesome that she’s so personally connected to the Harvard community,” Second Class Marshall Scott Yim ’13 said. “We think that she’s going to give a message that will resonate with the rest of our class.”
Yancy and Yim said that O’Brien told them she never had the chance to experience Class Day for herself—and that as a result, this Class Day would be her own.
O’Brien, a former correspondent for CNN and NBC, is also known for her documentary “Black in America,” which was met with wide critical acclaim. She is currently producing documentaries through Starfish Media, her own production company.
Harvard Law School has also recently announced its Class Day speaker—senior CNN legal analyst, New Yorker writer, and Supreme Court expert Jeffrey R. Toobin ’82.
Toobin, a former Crimson sports and editorial editor who graduated from Harvard Law in 1986, also served as editor of the Harvard Law Review. He is perhaps best known for his best-selling book “The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.”
Last year, Harvard took the unusual step of selecting two College Class Day speakers in recognition of the University’s 375th anniversary. U.S. Rep. Barnett “Barney” Frank ’61-’62 and comedian Andy Samberg addressed the Class of 2012 in those Class Day festivities. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. delivered remarks at the Law School’s Class Day last year.
—Dev. A Patel contributed to the reporting of this article.
—Staff writer Laya Anasu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @layaanasu.