President Obama to deliver spring commencement address

News Release Date: 
04.15.13

Marks third time in university history that the U.S. president speaks at graduation ceremony

Columbus, Ohio — President Barack Obama will be the commencement speaker for The Ohio State University spring commencement. The ceremony takes place at noon on Sunday, May 5, in Ohio Stadium.

“This is a historic occasion for the university, the city of Columbus, and our graduates and their families,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “We are honored to have President Obama address our graduates at the university’s largest commencement ever. To be sure, this is a signal moment in the life of one of the most vibrant and vital universities in our nation.”

President Obama has begun his second term after making history when he was elected as the nation’s first African-American president.

Obama is the third sitting president to deliver Ohio State's commencement address. George W. Bush spoke to spring quarter graduates in 2002. Gerald Ford spoke to summer quarter graduates shortly after ascending to the presidency in 1974. In addition, both George H. W. Bush and Walter Mondale spoke to graduates when they were vice president.

This will be Obama’s fifth visit to Ohio State in the last 16 months. Previous 2012 visits occurred in March, when he delivered a speech on alternative energy and energy independence; in May, when he officially kicked off his re-election campaign; in August, when he briefly visited the Ohio Union; and in October for a campaign rally on the Oval.

Ohio State has long been a significant destination for visits by politicians, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, entertainers, authors, politicians and worldwide dignitaries, creating exceptional experiences for students. Over the last year, for example, in addition to President Obama, Ohio State has been host to Warren Buffet, Colin Powell, Geoffrey Canada, Brent Musburger, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, artist Annie Leibovitz and author Rebecca Skloot.

Ohio State students are uniquely engaged with the community, twice earning recognition for excellence over the last month. The university has surged four places on the Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing schools, placing among the top 10 large universities. Currently, 80 Ohio State graduates serve as Peace Corps volunteers. Ohio State students also raised more than $600,000 for pediatric cancer research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the annual Buckeyethon dance marathon held earlier this month.

Because the president is the commencement speaker, additional security measures will be in place. The university will require all guests to have a ticket. Each graduate may receive four tickets for their guests. Tickets are free, but graduates must present a photo ID to obtain tickets. Graduates do not need a ticket for commencement.

This is the university’s first spring graduation on the semester system. Approximately 12,000 students are expected to graduate, the largest class in university history.

Ohio State is unique among major universities in having one, university-wide commencement each semester at which each graduate receives his or her actual diploma.

Details on commencement ticketing will be made available closer to the May 5 ceremony. Please visit the commencement website where details will be updated as they become available.

The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions