Conservatives notably absent at Ivy League commencements

Amber Athey
Investigative Reporter

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  • The Ivy League schools have all officially announced their commencement speakers for 2017, and while several are prominently liberal, not a single one boasts conservative bona fides.
  • Princeton and UPenn will both host Democratic politicians, while Yale and Harvard have invited former students Theo Epstein and Mark Zuckerberg, both of whom have a history of supporting liberal candidates and views.
  • CNN anchor Jake Tapper, a political "agnostic" who has nonetheless been sharply critical of Donald Trump, will speak at Dartmouth, while Brown, Columbia, and Cornell either have no speakers or traditionally invite the school president.
  • The Ivy League schools have all officially announced their commencement speakers for 2017, and while several are prominently liberal, not a single one boasts conservative bona fides.

    Brown University, Columbia University, and Cornell University either do not invite commencement speakers or use their school’s president by tradition, but three of the remaining five Ivies have invited speakers with overtly left-leaning political views.

    “Senator Booker is a passionate advocate and defender of our nation’s most important democratic ideals.”   

    While the remaining two speakers have less overt liberal political leanings, none of the five invited speakers are outright conservatives.

    [RELATED: GW paper: Duckworth a good choice for ‘liberal-leaning’ students]

    Princeton University invited Anne Holton, the wife of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running-mate Sen. Tim Kaine.

    Holton is a credentialed liberal in her own right, having led Virginia’s Women for Obama group in 2008 before being appointed by Democratic Gov. Terry Mcauliffe to serve as Virginia’s education secretary in 2014.

    "A dedicated public servant and a trailblazer for women in politics, Anne Holton is an accomplished Princeton alumna who has spent the majority of her life fighting for causes that have helped to enrich and better the lives of families and children,” Andrew Sun, president of the senior class, said of Holton’s invitation.

    [RELATED: Notre Shame: school may break tradition by not inviting Trump]

    The University of Pennsylvania, meanwhile, will host Cory Booker, the Democratic junior senator from New Jersey.

    “We are honored to bestow our highest degree on Senator Cory Booker and have him address our graduates at Penn’s 261st Commencement,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Senator Booker is a passionate advocate and defender of our nation’s most important democratic ideals.”

    Yale University has confirmed that Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein, a Yale graduate, will speak at its commencement ceremony. Epstein reportedly wrote Hillary Clinton a large personal check during the 2016 campaign and previously held fundraisers for Barack Obama.

    [RELATED: Liberals to outnumber conservatives 4-to-1 at 2016 commencements]

    Harvard University also chose a former student to speak at its commencement ceremony, inviting Mark Zuckerberg, who famously dropped out of Harvard his sophomore year to pursue the creation and operation of Facebook.

    Zuckerberg is one of two Ivy commencement speakers that has a more complicated political history. His party registration is unaffiliated but he has been an open critic of Donald Trump and Facebook has recently come under fire for alleged bias against conservative users.

    The other, CNN anchor Jake Tapper, will speak at Dartmouth College. While he claims to be “agnostic” in terms of party affiliation, Tapper is well-known for his aggressive coverage of President Donald Trump.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey



    Amber Athey

    Amber Athey

    Investigative Reporter

    Amber Athey is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government and Economics, and is currently a member of the 2016-2017 Koch Associate Program. 

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