President Bill Clinton to Speak at Class Day

With great pleasure, the Yale College Class of 2010 announces that the Commencement Class Day speaker will be President Bill Clinton, Law ‘73, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States. President Clinton will speak at the undergraduate Class Day exercises on Old Campus on Sunday May 23, at 2:00 p.m. Security measures will be in place and will be announced later.

In addition to the speaker, Yale Class Day exercises include special Yale College awards to seniors, as well as class traditions: a student reflection, a poem, a class history, and the planting of the Ivy. The occasion has both a serious and a celebratory air. Members of the class come together at the end of their college experience to listen to a distinguished speaker charge them for the future, celebrate classmates’ distinction, and share memories. By longstanding tradition seniors wear clever and imaginative hats with their gowns. The event concludes with the alma mater and the waving of white handkerchiefs.

William Jefferson Clinton was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice – first in 1992 and then in 1996. Under his leadership, the country enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs.

After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. Today the Foundation has staff and volunteers around the world working to improve lives through several initiatives, including the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (now the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a separate nonprofit organization) which is helping 2 million people living with HIV/AIDS access lifesaving drugs.

Other initiatives – including the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative – are applying a business-oriented approach worldwide to fight climate change and develop sustainable economic growth in Africa and Latin America. As a project of the Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. In the U.S., the Foundation is working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and is helping individuals and families succeed and small businesses grow.

In addition his Foundation work, President Clinton has joined with former President George H.W. Bush three times - after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008 - to help raise money for recovery efforts and served as the U.N. Envoy for Tsunami Recovery.

Building on his longstanding commitment to Haiti as President and through his Foundation, President Clinton was named U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti in 2009 to assist the government and the people of Haiti as they “build back better” after a series of hurricanes battered the country in 2008. Following this year’s devastating earthquake, President Clinton dedicated Clinton Foundation resources to help with immediate and long term relief and assistance, and at the request of President Obama, joined with President George W. Bush to establish the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which supports highly effective organizations on the ground in long-term rebuilding efforts.

President Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. He and his wife Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton have one daughter, Chelsea, and live in Chappaqua, New York.

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