On Monday, June 17th, the graduating class of 2019 will participate in the 142nd annual spring commencement. This event, held at Matthew Knight Arena, is the culmination of years of hard work and academic achievement.
This year’s commencement speaker, Governor Kate Brown, is the 5th Oregon governor and 13th woman to deliver the spring commencement address. Antonia Brico, conductor and pianist, was the first female keynote speaker at the 1976 spring ceremony. Other female speakers include Hanna Holborn Gray, Corazon Aquino, Ann Curry, and Marian Wright Edelman.
The style of the commencement address evolved over the years. First, it was an address to the graduating class comprised of only five students in 1878. Then it evolved into an address before the university in 1882, and to a commencement address beginning in 1913. In the 1950s and 1960s, the speech was referred to as a charge to the graduating class. In recent decades, a designated keynote speaker delivers the commencement speech. Since 2001, the speakers have almost exclusively been UO professors or UO alums.