The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced their May commencement speakers Wednesday, naming Broadway actor André De Shields as the speaker for undergraduates and psychologist John Gottman, Ph.D. as the speaker for graduate students.
The ceremony is being held in-person at Camp Randall and will feature two smaller celebrations, one for undergraduates and one for graduate candidates.
Due to the split ceremonies, each speaker has been assigned a different commencement ceremony and will address the crowd virtually, according to a press release.
De Shields, a 1970 graduate of UW-Madison, will speak at the undergraduate ceremony.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in English Literature, De Shields went on to gain his Master's Degree in African American Studies at New York University.
Since then, he has won a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy from his work as an actor, director and choreographer. He has starred in Broadway compositions including “The Wiz,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,’” “Play On!” and “Full Monty.”
He also has a history of television appearances, including “Sex and the City” and “Law & Order.” More recently, De Shields has starred in “Hadestown,” “Ratatouille: The Tik Tok Musical” and “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch.”
Gottman, on the other hand, will speak at the graduate ceremony, where he will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree, according to the release.
Gottman earned his Master’s degree in clinical psychology-mathematics from UW-Madison in 1967 and a doctorate in clinical psychology from UW-Madison in 1971. He will receive an honorary doctoral degree from UW-Madison for his world-renowned work in marital stability and divorce prediction.
After his work as a faculty member at Indiana University and the University of Illinois, Gottman continued as a faculty member at the University of Washington. He then co-founded The Gottman Institute in Seattle with his wife. According to its site, the Gottman Institute provides a “researched-based approach to relationships.”
Thus far, Gottman has authored or co-authored more than 200 academic articles and 40 books. He has several prominent media appearances.
While the undergraduate speaker is selected by the UW-Madison Senior Class Office and sent to the chancellor for review, the graduate speaker is that year’s recipient of the honorary doctoral degree, according to the press release.
The ceremonies will take place on May 8, 2021.