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Comedian Larry Wilmore to Address Harvard College Graduating Seniors at 2023 Class Day

Comedian, writer, and producer Larry Wilmore will address Harvard College graduating seniors at this year's Class Day on May 24.
Comedian, writer, and producer Larry Wilmore will address Harvard College graduating seniors at this year's Class Day on May 24. By Courtesy of Peter Yang/Comedy Central
By J. Sellers Hill and Nia L. Orakwue, Crimson Staff Writers

Emmy Award-winning comedian, writer, and producer Larry Wilmore will address the Harvard College Class of 2023 at this year’s Class Day on May 24, the University announced in a press release Friday.

Wilmore hosted Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” from 2015 to 2016 and served as the “Senior Black Correspondent” on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” from 2006 to 2014.

“It’s an absolute honor to be invited by the Class of 2023 to speak,” Wilmore said in the press release. “This is a pivotal moment in their lives, and it’s a joy to be able to share whatever wisdom I can and hopefully generate a few laughs in the process.”

In addition to his roles on screen, Wilmore has written for “In Living Color,” “The Office,” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Wilmore is also the creator of the 2001 sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show” and was an executive producer for the ABC television series “Black-ish.” He currently hosts a podcast, titled “Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air.”

Class Day, which typically takes place the day before the University-wide Commencement, is an annual tradition that celebrates graduating Harvard College seniors. The ceremony includes remarks from a keynote speaker, the dean of the College, and students.

Wilmore will deliver his address to graduating seniors at Tercentenary Theatre. One day later, actor Tom Hanks will speak at the University’s 372nd Commencement.

The College’s Senior Class Committee, which is composed of senior class marshals, has selected a Class Day speaker to address graduates each year since 1968.

Athena Q. Ye ’23, first marshal and co-chair of the speaker selection committee, said in the press release that the committee is “so excited to welcome Mr. Larry Wilmore as our Class Day speaker.”

“From his early days acting to his work producing and writing some of the most popular and influential TV shows of our generation, his voice in the media has made a lasting impact by challenging traditional ideas of race and politics through his prowess in comedy,” Ye said.

Last year, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu ’07 delivered the College’s Class Day address to the Class of 2022, where she called on graduates to seek change through the pursuit of truth. The University also welcomed back graduates from the classes of 2021 and 2020, whose ceremonies were postponed by Covid-19.

Actress Adjoa Andoh addressed the Class of 2021 during their Class Day dinner, while actor and producer Ashton Kutcher spoke to graduates at a Class of 2020 dinner.

—Staff writer J. Sellers Hill can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SellersHill.

—Staff writer Nia L. Orakwue can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @nia_orakwue.

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