Producer, writer and actress Issa Rae will deliver 2021 Commencement address

Issa Rae
Issa Rae

Stanford alumna Issa Rae, an actress, writer and producer, will be the speaker for the university’s 2021 undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 13.

Rae, who is known for her wit, wisdom and creativity, has used her platform in entertainment to advocate for civil rights and women’s rights.

She graduated from Stanford in 2007 with a major in African and African American studies and a minor in political science. As an undergraduate, she filmed her mockumentary Dorm Diaries about Black life at Stanford and collaborated with students across campus on video and stage productions, including adaptations of Spike Lee movies and a Motown adaptation of Grease.

After Stanford, she went on to create and act in a groundbreaking web comedy series, The Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl, wrote a best-selling memoir with the same name and created and currently stars in Insecure, a comedy series on HBO. In addition to earning Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, she was included on the Time 100 list of influential people and was twice among Forbes’ “30 under 30.”

“We asked Issa Rae to be our Commencement speaker because she embodies the courage, strength and resilience that the Class of 2021 has demonstrated not just during this senior year in a pandemic but during our entire Stanford career,” said Class of 2021 Senior Class Presidents Johnathan Bridges, Celine Foster, Virginia Miller, Jordan Oakes and David Pantera, who worked with the President’s Office to select the undergraduate speaker.

“Her life journey – a story of immigration, discrimination, passion, activism, determination and success – will be a much-needed and very appreciated inspirational narrative as we begin the next chapter in life. We’re so incredibly lucky and excited to welcome Issa back to Stanford!”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, ceremonies at Stanford Stadium are open only to graduates and invited guests. The ceremonies will be livestreamed and recorded for later viewing. Other events during the weekend will be fully virtual. More information is available at the Commencement website.