Global media leader and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey will speak at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s commencement ceremony, according to an email sent to the Annenberg class of 2018.
The commencement ceremony will take place in the Shrine Auditorium on May 11.
“Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful and effective communicators of our time, and someone I deeply admire for her commitment to using her voice for good,” Annenberg Dean Willow Bay said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “I am both incredibly excited to hear her speak, and deeply grateful to her for sharing the day with our graduates.”
According to Emily Cavalcanti, associate dean for communications and marketing, Bay asked Winfrey to speak at the ceremony and was “thrilled when she accepted. And [Annenberg is] bringing all 900 graduates together to be able to share this experience.”
Winfrey is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which led several publications to recognize her as one of the most influential women in the world. On the show, Winfrey focused on topics ranging from geopolitics to self-help ideas, additionally serving as a benefactor for those who, like herself, overcame adversity.
Now, Winfrey is a contributor for 60 Minutes, has starred in several films including The Color Purple and A Wrinkle in Time and publishes O, The Oprah Magazine. In 2013, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.
The 2018 commencement ceremony marks the first time the ceremonies for the School for Journalism and the School for Communication will be combined instead of being held separately. After learning that merging the two ceremonies will limit invitations to four guests for each graduating Annenberg student, strategic public relations graduate student Anais Medina Diaz started a petition on March 12 calling for Annenberg to reconsider the invite limit.
By the time of publication, the petition had garnered 150 signatures.
“On behalf of the [Annenberg strategic public relations class of 2018,] the school’s response is a good compromise that allows our families and friends who’ve planned to attend and celebrate with us,” graduate student Brittany Stamoulis said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “We thank the USC Annenberg administration for listening to our concerns … but in the future, we hope the schools takes into consideration the diverse backgrounds of the student body and the multiple people helping us succeed when determining how many tickets are allocated per student.”