Conan O’Brien to Deliver 2011 Dartmouth Commencement Address


Conan O’Brien, who The Washington Post has called “the most intelligent of the late-night comics,” will deliver the main address at Dartmouth College’s 2011 Commencement exercises on Sunday morning, June 12, on the Green.

Comedian Conan O’Brien will deliver Dartmouth’s 2011 Commencement address on June 12. (photo courtesy Conan O’Brien)

Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim will deliver the Valedictory Address to the graduates. The valedictorian from the undergraduate senior class will also speak at the event. The valedictorian will be announced the week of Commencement after final grades are calculated.

“I was honored to be asked to give the commencement address to Dartmouth’s graduating class of 2011, until I found out their first choice was Pauly D,” said O’Brien, who will also receive an honorary degree at the event. Additional 2011 honorary degree recipients will be announced later this month.

O’Brien got his start in comedy at the Harvard Lampoon. Following graduation from Harvard, he left Cambridge for Los Angeles, where he wrote for Not Necessarily the News on HBO and regularly performed with improvisational groups. He came to the attention of Saturday Night Live Executive Producer Lorne Michaels who signed him to the late-night comedy show in 1988. O’Brien received an Emmy Award for his writing on SNL in 1989.

After later writing and producing for The Simpsons, he was picked to take over as the new host of Late Night, succeeding David Letterman on NBC. Michaels said O’Brien was selected from among many talented potential hosts for his unique mix of “vitality, wit and intelligence.” Entertainment Weekly called O’Brien “Late Night’s King of Cool.”

O’Brien later hosted The Tonight Show and most recently last year launched his latest venture, the late-night talk show Conan, which appears weeknights on TBS.

With “a comic identity as distinctive as his name,” according to The New York Times, O’Brien has firmly established himself in the late night comedy universe.

Dartmouth typically awards approximately 1,000 bachelor’s degrees and approximately 600 master’s and doctoral degrees in the arts and sciences and from the College’s three professional schools: Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business.

The academic procession to the green begins at 9:30 a.m., and visitors are advised to be in their seats by that time. Commencement ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

Additional Commencement Information

Saturday, June 11: Speakers for Dartmouth’s professional schools’ Class Day and Investiture ceremonies; and for Baccalaureate Service

A variety of ceremonies take place before Commencement, including Class Day and Investiture ceremonies for Dartmouth’s three professional schools, and Baccalaureate, a multifaith service open to all graduates and their guests. Those events, in chronological order, and their speakers are:

  • 9 a.m., Dartmouth Medical School: under the tent on the corner of Rope Ferry Road and Maynard Street. Speaker: Darrell Kirch, MD, CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Student speakers to be announced.
  • 10 a.m., Thayer School of Engineering: Spaulding Auditorium, Hopkins Center. Speaker:  Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • 3 p.m., Tuck School of Business: Tuck Circle. Speaker: Jeffrey R. Immelt ’78, chairman and CEO of General Electric and Dartmouth College trustee.The student speaker will be Thomas Housley, Tuck ’11. (In case of rain, Leede Arena.)
  • 3 p.m., Baccalaureate: Rollins Chapel. Speaker: Bill McKibben, writer and activist on environmental issues and Middlebury College scholar-in-residence.
Further information on Commencement activities in general is available at the Commencement website.

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