Graduation is only 16 days away. The ceremony does not only encompass sitting for multiple hours, listening to one name after another as students go up on stage to grab their diplomas.  

This momentous event provides the opportunity to get some final advice from leaders on and off campus before entering the real world.  

The graduating class of 2019 will listen to this year's commencement address from U.S. Senator Jack Reed and a speech from student speaker, Phoebe Thaler.

Reed earned his education from West Point in 1971 and later earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1982. He was elected as a U.S. Senator for Rhode Island in 1996 and has been a successful national leader since. 

Reed is looking forward to the big day and is humbled to be a part of it. He also said he hopes to give useful insight to the class of 2019.  

“I will do my best to offer words of advice and encouragement to these graduates as they prepare to go forth to make a positive impact on the world,” Reed said. 

Thaler is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science and American studies with minors in gender and sexuality studies, sociology and anthropology. She said that she is excited and honored to have been chosen. 

“My speech will touch on themes of community and I am looking forward to sharing it at commencement,” said Thaler. 

Having never given a speech to a crowd of this size, Thaler said she is nervous, but that she is “practicing extensively” for the big day.

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