Politics | May 6, 2020 9:05 am

Barack and Michelle Obama to Deliver Virtual Commencement Speeches

The speeches will take place on June 6

The Obamas
The Obamas in 2018.
Senior Airman Ryan Sonnier/Creative Commons

In the middle of last month, an online petition involving a former head of state began circulating and gradually attracted a host of media attention. High school senior Lincoln Debenham tagged Barack Obama in a tweet in which he asked the former president if he would deliver a commencement address to the Class of 2020. Soon afterwards, the hashtag #ObamaCommencement2020 had gone viral. The reasons for this are understandable: commencements are unlikely to take place this year for obvious reasons, and getting a speech from a former president is not bad, as consolation prizes go.

One month’s viral hashtag is another month’s reality. CNN reports that Barack Obama will indeed be giving a speech to the Class of 2020. He won’t be the only Obama to do so: former First Lady and current documentary subject Michelle Obama will also address this year’s graduates.

The Obamas’ speeches are set to take place as part of a larger event, to be held on YouTube. CNN’s report has more details:

On June 6 at 3 p.m. ET, the former president and first lady will deliver separate addresses and a joint message to students as part of YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” celebration. According to a release from the Obamas, other contributors to the program include Malala Yousafzai, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Barack Obama is also taking part in Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, which will simultaneously air on multiple television networks on May 16. Also taking part? A number of other high-profile figures, including Megan Rapinoe, Pharrell Williams and LeBron James. As alternatives to a traditional commencement go, it doesn’t sound bad.

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