Carnegie Mellon University
May 14, 2019

Leslie Odom, Jr. To Give Keynote Address at CMU Commencement

By Julie Mattera

Julie Mattera
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Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Leslie Odom, Jr. will deliver the keynote address at Carnegie Mellon University's 122nd Commencement.

Odom, Jr., who earned his bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts in 2003, will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree during the ceremony. Odom, Jr. won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Aaron Burr in "Hamilton." He also won a Grammy as a principal soloist on the original cast recording.

Hamza Qureshi

Hamza Qureshi

This year's commencement student speaker is Hamza Qureshi, who will earn his bachelor's degree in architecture with an additional major in human-computer interaction.

Four others will join Odom, Jr. on stage to receive honorary degrees.

Darlene Clark Hine will be presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. She is a leading historian of the African-American experience who helped found the field of black women's history and has been one of its most prolific scholars.

David M. Kelley, a 1973 alumnus of CMU's College of Engineering, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology. Kelley founded the global design and innovation company IDEO and Stanford University's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design — commonly referred to as the

John Shaffner and Joe Stewart (1976 and 1977 alumni, respectively) each will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts. The duo are among the most prolific production designers in television. They've worked on award-winning shows such as "The Big Bang Theory," "Friends" and "Two and a Half Men," and have earned 39 Emmy Award nominations and won six Emmys.

Learn more about the speakers and honorary degree recipients.

More than 5,600 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees will be conferred at CMU's main commencement ceremony.

The ceremony will be webcast live at

When: 11 a.m., Sunday, May 19.

Where: Gesling Stadium, CMU campus. (Rain or shine).

Note: Media planning to attend Sunday's ceremony should contact Julie Mattera at 248-798-4423 for instructions on parking, photography and seating. Please wear press credentials.

Parking: Parking spaces for media will be located in the East Campus parking garage. Please contact Julie Mattera if your vehicle won't fit in a parking garage.