Stanford announces commencement speakers

Alum Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., will address graduates June 17

Cory Booker, former Stanford University football player, Rhodes scholar and current mayor of Newark, N.J., will address graduates at Stanford's 121st Commencement June 17, the university announced.

Now in his second term as mayor, the 42-year-old Booker has deployed more than 100 surveillance cameras throughout Newark, doubled affordable housing production and committed to a $40 million improvement of parks and playgrounds through a public-private partnership.

An All Pac-10 football player who was active in student government, Booker earned bachelor's and master's degrees in sociology from Stanford in 1992. He earned a degree in modern history at Oxford University and, in 1996, a JD from Yale Law School.

He was elected to Newark's Municipal Council in 1998, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2002 before being elected in 2006.

"Cory Booker, by the relatively young age of 41, has used his education and his passion for service to improve the lives of every citizen in Newark, N.J., and well beyond," Stanford President John Hennessy said.

"His leadership and many accomplishments in Newark are serving as a model for urban renewal in troubled places around the globe.

"Cory Booker also exemplifies the potential of every Stanford graduate to make a profound difference in the world, and I know he will inspire our 2012 graduates to similarly go forth and make positive contributions with their own lives," Hennessy said.

In other commencement plans announced Monday, Feb. 6, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Larry Diamond will deliver a "final lecture" to the Class of 2012 as Class Day speaker June 16. Diamond directs the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He teaches courses on comparative democratic development and post-conflict democracy building.

Speaking at the Baccalaureate ceremony for graduates and their families June 16 will be Sister Joan Chittister, author of more than 45 books and co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the United Nations.

She is founder and current director of Benetvision, a "resource and research center for contemporary spirituality" in Erie, Pa.

Among Chittister's recent books are "Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is" and "Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose and Joy." She writes regular columns for the National Catholic Reporter and for

Chris Kenrick


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:05 am


Loved the article about the Mayor of Newark. How can I contact Mr. Booker about appearing at Gunn High for an assembly or panel discussion?

Please send contact info - email address, office phone#, etc.

Thank you!
Stanford - Class of 1983

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Mayor of Newark, NJ? Ugh. Makes me think of Janet Evanovich, which in turns makes me think she'd give a more interesting talk ;-)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Damning with faint praise
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Booker seems to be a person of some accomplishment but the Weekly lists former football player first.
Thanks for contributing to the general dumbing down.

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