Cory A. Booker, US Senator for New Jersey, will deliver the address at the University’s 261st Commencement in May.
Campus reaction to the January announcement centered on its political dimension. Penn President Amy Gutmann called Booker “a passionate advocate and defender of our nation’s most important democratic ideals.”
New Jersey’s junior senator received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University before earning an honors degree at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated from Yale Law in 1997 and has since then lived and worked in Newark, first as a city councilperson and then as the mayor. During his seven years as mayor, the city saw significant economic growth and modest declines in crime, and he gained national attention for his personal commitment to public service.
In 2013, he became the first black US senator from New Jersey, and he currently serves on the Senate’s committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Environment and Public Works; and Foreign Relations. The author of United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good , Senator Booker will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the ceremony. Other honorands will include Chilean-American author Isabel Allende; Emerita Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Clara Franzini-Armstrong; Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air; nursing research pioneer Ada Sue Hinshaw; educator and civil rights activist Robert Parris Moses; and poet Paul Muldoon.