For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Drexel University's 2018 Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

2017 commencement.

It’s almost that time of year again at Drexel University when a multitude of diverse and accomplished speakers address graduating Dragons and their families at commencement ceremonies on and off campus. This year, Drexel will host 16 different college- or school-level ceremonies in the days and weeks leading up to a University-wide ceremony at Citizens Bank Park — which means there will be a lot of speakers at the University’s various commencement ceremonies.

Some of those distinguished speakers have already been announced to the Drexel community. Last month, DrexelNow published the University announcement that director, producer, screenwriter and actor M. Night Shyamalan will address the class of 2018 at the main commencement ceremony on June 15; he will be presented with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Ignacio Sánchez, MD, president of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, will address the Drexel University College of Medicine class of 2018 at its commencement ceremony May 18. That day, Cornell William Brooks, JD, dedicated civil rights leader, attorney and minister, will address the graduates of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

The rest of the commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients are now ready to be announced. They include an astronaut (and alumnus!), the superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, presidents of major companies and institutions and a number of alumni and trustees.

Here are the speakers and honorary degree recipients that will address the graduating Dragons at the upcoming commencement ceremonies.

College of Medicine: May 18, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts 

  • Ignacio Sánchez, MD, president of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, will speak at the College of Medicine’s commencement ceremony at 9 a.m.

Thomas R. Kline School of Law: May 18, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

  • Former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Cornell William Brooks, JD, will address the graduates of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at a commencement ceremony at 3:30 p.m.

College of Computing & Informatics: June 14, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • Rick Berk ’86, a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman and the College of Computing & Informatics’ advisory board member, will speak at its ceremony at 9 a.m.

Close School of Entrepreneurship: June 14, Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery in Main Building

  • Korin Korman, an entrepreneur who has started companies related to beauty and well-being and also served as Entrepreneur in Residence for the Wharton School, will address the 2018 graduates of the Close School of Entrepreneurship at 9 a.m.

College of Engineering: June 14, Mann Center

  • Paul Richards ’87, a space shuttle astronaut, NASA project manager and member of the College of Engineering’s Dean's Advisory Council, will speak at the college’s commencement ceremony at 1 p.m.

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems: June 14, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • Stephen Tang, former president and CEO of the University City Science Center, will address the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems’ graduating class at a ceremony at 1 p.m.

Custom-Designed Majors (Pennoni Honors College): June 14, Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery in Main Building

  • Shannon Downey, craft artist, activist and proponent for female empowerment, will address the Pennoni Honors College’s graduating custom-designed majors at 1 p.m.

College of Nursing and Health Professions (including the Center for Food and Hospitality Management): June 14, Mann Center

  • Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and vice president of community affairs at Independence Blue Cross, will speak at the college’s event at 5 p.m.

Goodwin College of Professional Studies: June 14, Mandell Theater

  • Joel Ruffin ’05, vice president of technology at Goldman Sachs and current Goodwin Advisory Council member, will speak at 5 p.m.

School of Education: June 14, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia William Hite will address the school’s graduates at 5 p.m.

LeBow College of Business (including Center for Sport Management): June 15, Mann Center

  • Richelle Parham ’91, former vice president and chief marketing officer for eBay North America and a Drexel trustee, will speak at 8:30 a.m.

Westphal College of Media Arts & Design: June 15, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • Paula Marincola, first executive director of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, will address the college’s commencement event at 9 a.m.

College of Arts and Sciences: June 15, Mann Center

  • Paul Offit, MD, Maurice Hilleman Chair of Vaccinology and Director of Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), will address the college’s graduates at 1 p.m.

Dornsife School of Public Health: June 15, Daskalakis Athletic Center

  • Former National Coordinator for Health IT and HHS Acting Secretary for Health Karen DeSalvo, MD, HD ’15, will speak at the school’s ceremony at 1 p.m. Previously, DeSalvo received an honorary degree from Drexel’s College of Medicine in 2015.

University-wide Commencement Ceremony: June 15, Citizens Bank Park

The Drexel community will gather for a University-wide commencement at Citizens Bank Park under the stadium lights. Starting at 5 p.m., there will be pre-ceremony festivities on Citizens Bank Way for graduates and their families and friends, including light ballpark snacks and photo ops with the Phillie Phanatic. The ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m.

  • This year’s University-wide commencement speaker M. Night Shyamalan, a Hollywood legend, will be presented with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
  • Constance B. Clery, whose advocacy and leadership has led to a total of 28 state and six federal laws, including the Jeanne Clery Act, designed to improve campus safety, will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
  • Paula Marincola, who will be speaking at the ceremony for the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Media Contact