Hillary Clinton ’73 J.D. to be this year’s Class Day speaker

The Yale alumna, who has spent four decades in public service, will speak to graduating Yale College seniors on May 20 as part of Commencement weekend.
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Yale alumna Hillary Rodham Clinton ’73 J.D. will be the featured speaker at the 2018 Senior Class Day ceremony, part of Commencement weekend.

Clinton, who has spent four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, first lady, U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of state, and presidential candidate, will speak at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, on Old Campus.

Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois on Oct. 26, 1947. After graduating from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, she began her life-long work on behalf of children and families by joining the Children’s Defense Fund. 

In 1974, she moved to Arkansas, where she married Bill Clinton, also a 1973 graduate of Yale Law School, and became a successful attorney while also raising their daughter, Chelsea. 

As first lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, Clinton championed health care for all Americans and led successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, and create the Children's Health Insurance Program.

In 2000, Clinton made history as the only first lady to be elected to the United States Senate, and the first woman elected to statewide office in New York. As senator, she worked across party lines to expand economic opportunity and access to quality, affordable health care. After Sept. 11, 2001, Clinton helped to rebuild New York and provide health care for first responders.

In 2007, she began her historic campaign for president, winning 18 million votes and becoming the first woman to ever win a presidential primary or state caucus. 

In her four years as America’s chief diplomat and President Obama’s principal foreign policy adviser, Clinton led the effort to restore America’s leadership in the world. She negotiated a cease-fire in Gaza that defended Israel’s security and headed off another war in the Middle East, mobilized an international coalition to impose crippling sanctions against Iran, and championed human rights around the world, as she has her entire career. 

In 2016, Clinton made history again by becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party. As the Democratic candidate for president, she campaigned on a vision of America that is “stronger together” and an agenda to make the nation’s economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, earning the support of nearly 66 million Americans.

Clinton is the author of seven best-selling books. Her most recent, “What Happened,” released in September of 2017, spent 16 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List.

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Part of the In Focus Collection: Yale Commencement 2018: A campus-wide celebration