Oprah Winfrey to Deliver Commencement Speech at UC Santa Barbara

UCSB to Hold In-Person Grad Walk and Virtual Ceremony

Oprah Winfrey will deliver the keynote speech at UC Santa Barbara's Commencement on June 12. | Credit: Erika Carlos (file)

Oprah Winfrey will be the keynote speaker for Commencement at UC Santa Barbara, in a ceremony to be held online, Chancellor Henry T. Yang announced today. After months of uncertainty about the status of the 2021 Commencement, Yang notified students and their families of plans for an in-person graduation processional and the online Commencement ceremony featuring the Montecito resident on June 12.

A Grad Walk takes place during the week of June 7, Yang said, that will allow graduating students to cross a stage and pose for photographs in front of the campus lagoon. Class of 2020 graduates, who experienced a virtual ceremony last year, will also be welcomed.

The event will be live-streamed so friends and family can share in the celebration, and a live-streamed online Commencement ceremony on June 12 will include a keynote speech by Oprah Winfrey. “My wife, Dilling, and I spoke with her and invited her to deliver a message of inspiration in honor of our graduating class, and she graciously accepted,” Yang said in a university-wide announcement.

This will begin a day of virtual or small in-person festivities organized by UCSB’s schools and departments, as allowed by public health orders.

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