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Michael Bloomberg named 2013 Commencement speaker

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the 2013 Commencement speaker, the senior class presidents announced Sunday evening.

(Takaaki Iwabu/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT)

(Takaaki Iwabu/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT)

This year’s Commencement weekend will also feature a Class Day lecture by Mehran Sahami ’92 M.S. ’93 Ph.D. ’99, associate professor of computer science, and a baccalaureate address by Valarie Kaur ‘03, a filmmaker and civil rights advocate. Kaur spoke as a senior at her own baccalaureate celebration.

Bloomberg, who has served as New York’s mayor since 2001, is the founder of technology company Bloomberg LP and, according to Forbes, is the 10th richest person in the United States. During his time in office, Bloomberg has played an influential role in national politics on issues like gun control and has been the subject of extensive speculation regarding potential gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. He also supervised New York’s competition for an applied sciences and engineering campus, for which Stanford initially bid before withdrawing.

“We are incredibly excited about the speakers,” the senior class presidents wrote in an email to the Class of 2013. “These people have served as role models and mentors, directly or indirectly, to many of us during our years at Stanford.”

The 122nd Commencement weekend is set for June 14-16.

About Marshall Watkins

Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.
  • Sam

    HORRIBLE choice!

  • This guy sucks

    I used to like him but now he’s becoming a dictator! How is it any of the government’s business if I want a 2-liter soda with my pizza delivery? Why should the idiots who voluntarily choose to be fat interfere with my own personal and economic choices? Controlling the public through bans in the name of “public health” goes against everything America stands for in terms of freedom and individual choice.

  • Andrew

    How to be rich and unhappy 101

  • real talk, yo

    Bloomberg was a bold choice on the part of the Senior Class, and I am really excited to hear and engage in discussions with my classmates regarding his role in politics, science, and general news culture. His politics are uneasy to categorize, as he veers dangerously close to extreme on police reliance and has adopted policies that affect many of NYC’s minorities unfairly, but he also stands alone amongst the right in issues related to liberal immigration reform and gun control. He is an abrasive transcender of lines that society is used to skirting in ways I think can catalyze thoughtful self-reflection conversation for Stanford’s divided liberal and conservative camps. I don’t agree with many of his politics, but I am a firm believer that this specific exercise in dealing with radical/uncomfortable/unlikable perspectives is essential to being a functioning, conscientious, and informed person who realizes the limitations of extremist dialogue outside the bubble after we graduate. The class of 2013 will inherit a complicated sociopolitical landscape; this is the beginning of us navigating, mediating, and ultimately being a critical part of the American political conversation.

  • Senior

    I love this choice; Bloomberg is a huge role model for many of us on campus.

  • Just Curious

    As far as I know, all commencement speakers have some relation to Stanford. How is Bloomberg related to Stanford?

  • Excited

    Great choice

  • Daily Editor

    Don’t think he is (and apparently there’s some animosity between him and Hennessy over the NY campus proposal). Still, were Calderon or Oprah connected to Stanford?

  • newyork1974

    Bloomberg spoke at Cornell’s commencement last year, the same year that Cornell won his competition for the New York City applied science and engineering campus amid what the Chronicle of Higher Education called “angry recriminations” from Stanford, so coming to Stanford may be seen as something of a fence-mending effort, from both sides.
    He has no connection to either Stanford or Cornell, either as an alumnus or, so far as is publicly known, as a contributor. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins, where he has donated a great deal of money.

  • pol_incorrect

    I disagree with him on many issues but I think this was a great and bold choice.

    Certainly better than last year’s lame choice. In the last 15 years only two commencement speakers deserved the “you are lame” label: Dana Gioia and Cory Booker. Commencements should not be platforms to catapult people to fame -they should be about the students themselves-, yet that’s what those two commencements turned out to be.

  • Just Curious

    Oprah’s goddaughter was graduating from Stanford the year she spoke I believe.

  • Simply Distinterested

    Mayor Bloomberg is definitely a bold choice, but unfortunately one I can’t bring myself to be remotely enthused about as a graduating senior and as someone who can’t find common ground upon which relate to him or to comprehend his world experiences and political actions; we simply occupy extremely distinct spheres, and while differing viewpoints can be refreshing (if sometimes controversial), there’s a point of irrelevance where there’s simply very little effect to be had. I would have liked them to choose someone more universally impressive, but it does look like he is a major role model for some and I am glad for their chance to hear from him, if nothing else!

  • Anonymous

    What’s with the focus on picking politicians to deliver every Commencement address?

    Since 2009, every commencement speaker has been a politician:

    2009 – Anthony Kennedy – Supreme Court Justice
    2010 – Susan Rice, UN Ambassador
    2011 – Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico
    2012 – Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark

    This makes five years in a row.

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