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Year Speaker Title/Background/Field
2021 Bryan Stevenson Lawyer, civil rights advocate, and author
2019 Alfre Woodard Award-winning actor, producer, activist
2018 Ellen Kullman Former Chair of the Board and CEO, DuPont
2017 Kenya Barris Award-winning writer, producer, and director best known for the hit ABC television series Black-ish
2016 Hank Azaria Award-winning film, television and stage actor; producer; director and comedian
2015 Madeleine Albright Former U.S. Secretary of State
2014 Anne-Marie Slaughter President and CEO, New America Foundation; Public Policy Expert
2013 Claude M. Steele Social Psychologist, I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University
2012 Eric Greitens Author, Humanitarian, and Navy SEAL
2011 Charles M. Vest President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2010 Sol Gittleman Professor, Author, Former Vice President and Provost of Tufts University
2009 Deval Patrick Governor of Massachusetts
2008 Meredith Vieira Journalist, TV Host
2007 Michael Bloomberg Mayor of New York City
2006 Lance Armstrong Professional Athlete
2005 Kostas Karamanlis Prime Minister, Greece
2004 Walter Isaacson Author, Historian
2003 Margaret Marshall Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
2002 Pierre and Pam Omidyar Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists
2001 Jim Lehrer Journalist and TV News Anchor
2000 Bill Cosby Actor and Comedian
1999 David Halberstam Historian
1998 Garry Trudeau Political Cartoonist
1997 William Richardson U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
1996 Bette Bao Lord Author
1995 Doris Kearns Goodwin Author, Historian
Richard N. Goodwin Presidential Speech Writer
1994 Ted Koppel TV News Anchor
1993 Carlos Fuentes Mexican Writer, Novelist
1992 Bernard Marshall Gordon Inventor, Philanthropist
1991 Ted Turner Media Entrepreneur
1990 Robert Coles Child Psychiatrist, Author
1989 Javier Perez de Cuellar Peruvian Diplomat, Secretary General of the United Nations
1988 Clifton Wharton, Jr. Diplomat, Philanthropist
1987 Gloria Steinem Political Activist
1986 Elie Wiesel Political Activist, Nobel Laureate
1985 Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill Congressman, Speaker of the House of Representatives
1984 John Kenneth Galbraith Economist
1983 Edward M. Kennedy U.S. Senator
1982 John G. Kemeny Mathematician, Computer Scientist
1981 Sarah Caldwell Opera Conductor, Director
1980 Irene Worth Actress
1979 Francis Bellotti Lawyer, Politician, A47
1978 Percy Qoboza South African Journalist, Political Activist
1977 B.F. Skinner Psychologist, Inventor, Social Philosopher
1976 Philip Hauge Abelson Physicist
1975 Francis Keppel Educator
1974 Theodore M. Hesburgh Priest, Educator, President of Notre Dame University
1973 Barbara Jordan Politician
1972 Burton Crosby Hallowell President, Tufts University
1971 Bella Abzug U.S. Congresswoman
1970 no speaker
Harris Llewellyn Wofford Politician, Civil Rights Activist
1969 Paul A. Freund Jurist, Law Professor
1968 John Kenneth Galbraith Economist
1967 Howard Wesley Johnson Educator, President of MIT
1966 William Warren Scranton Congressman, Governor of Pennsylvania
1965 Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach U.S. Attorney General
1964 Jerrold Reinach Zacharias Physicist
1963 Lyndon Baines Johnson Vice President of the United States
1962 Adlai E. Stevenson Politician, Governor of Illinois, Diplomat
1961 Henri Peyre Educator, Author
1960 Hiram L. Fong U.S. Senator
1959 Robert Chapman Sprague Founder, Sprague Electric Company
1958 Erwin Dain Canham Editor, Christian Science Monitor
1957 Henry Bradford Washburn Explorer, Founder of the Boston Museum of Science
1956 John Moors Cabot Diplomat
1955 Margaret Chase Smith First Woman Elected to Both Houses of Congress
1954 Samuel Miller Brownell Educational Administrator
1953 William Clyde DeVane Author, Dean of Yale University
1952 Henry Chauncey Educator, Pioneer of Standardized Testing
1951 Thomas Dudley Cabot Businessman, Philanthropist
1950 Samuel Tomlinson Arnold Provost, Brown University
1949 Wilhelm Munthe Morgenstierne Norwegian Diplomat
1948 John Nicholas Brown Assistant Secretary, U.S. Navy, Businessman
1947 Kenneth Charles Morton Sills President of Bowdoin College
1946 Luis de Florez U.S. Navy Admiral, Engineer, Inventor
1945 Edward Lester Marshall Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
1944 Beardsley Ruml Economist, Philanthropist, Businessman
1943 Claude Moore Fuess Educator, Historian, Author
1942 Walter Nash Minister of Finance, Prime Minister, New Zealand
1941 Jay Pierrepont Moffat Diplomat, Historian
1940 Alexander Loudon Netherlands Ambassador to the U.S.
1930 George Horace Gallup Inventor, The Gallup Poll
1938 Henry Merritt Wriston Educator
1937 Van Wyck Brooks Historian, Author
1936 Robert Ernest Doherty Educator
1935 Carter Glass Publisher, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator
1934 Harold L. Ickes U.S. Secretary of the Interior
1933 A. Lawrence Lowell Lawyer, Educator
1932 Vivian Towse Pomeroy Minister, Author
1931 Stanley Calef Wilson Lawyer, Governor of Vermont, A01
1930 (student orator)
1929 Frank Gilman Allen Businessman, U.S. Congressman, Governor of Massachusetts
1928 Eva Le Gallienne Actress, Producer, Director
1927 Edith Nourse Rogers First U.S. Congresswoman from Massachusetts
1926 Alvan Tufts Fuller Lawyer, Businessman, U.S. Congressman
1925 John Garibaldi Sargent Lawyer, U.S. Attorney General, A1887, G12
1924 James Harvey Robinson Historian
1923 Channing H. Cox Lawyer, Governor of Massachusetts
1922 William Wallace McClench Lawyer, President of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
1921 (student orator)
1920 (student orator)
1919 (student orator)
1918 S.K. Ratcliffe English Journalist
1917 Payson Smith Educator
1916 Hamilton Holt Educator, Editor, Author, Politician