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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
Former United States Vice President Al Gore ’69 will address the graduating Class of 2019 at the College’s Class Day, the speaker selection committee announced Wednesday.
Gore, who studied Government at the College 50 years ago, served as vice president under Bill Clinton. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988 and was the Democratic Party’s nominee in the hotly contested presidential 2000 race. Gore comes from a storied American political family — his father served as a United States senator from Tennessee for 18 years.
During and after his time in office, Gore became a recognized environmentalist and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his activism. The year before, Gore wrote and starred in the Academy Award-winning documentary on climate change, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Senior Class Committee First Marshal Catherine L. Zhang ’19 said in a press release that she hopes Gore’s experience with activism will inspire her classmates as they leave the College.
“More than ever, we need people to be inspired to serve, to see a need for change and to work toward progress,” Zhang said. “Al Gore has demonstrated unwavering service leadership, and his work has resonated deeply with a new generation of young people, shaping how so many of us think about service, our planet, and our place within the world.”
While a student at Harvard, Gore lived in Dunster House with his roommate, the actor Tommy Lee Jones ’69.
Gore previously returned to campus in 1994 to speak at Harvard’s 343rd Commencement. He has also come back to campus on several occasions since then, speaking at Tercentenary Theatre in 2008 at a multi-day celebration of sustainability and in Sanders Theater in 2016 about the threat of climate change.
Gore will address the Class of 2019 on May 29. The next day, Harvard will hold its 368th Commencement ceremony.
—Staff writer Shera S. Avi-Yonah can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @saviyonah.
—Staff writer Delano R. Franklin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @delanofranklin_.
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