Soccer Star and Activist Abby Wambach Named Barnard College Commencement Speaker


(212) 854-2037

NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2018 – Abby Wambach, the all-time leading scorer in international soccer history and advocate for pay equity and LGBTQ rights, will deliver the keynote address to the Class of 2018 at Barnard College’s 126th Commencement May 16, 2018, at 4 p.m. at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Wambach will also receive the Barnard Medal of Distinction, the College’s highest honor, together with three other honorees who embody the College’s commitment to academic excellence and to making a difference in the world: Katherine Johnson, the acclaimed mathematician and computer scientist who was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film “Hidden Figures,” Rhea Suh ’92, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Barnard Board Chair Emerita Anna Quindlen ’74, distinguished author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock, who will preside over the ceremony and confer the Medals of Distinction, will present the degree candidates and address an expected audience of 3,500 family, friends, faculty and staff. Katherine Johnson was awarded the medal earlier in Newport News, Virginia, and a video of her medal presentation will be shown during the ceremony.

“After earning two Olympic gold medals and becoming a World Cup Champion, Abby Wambach was not content to retire but chose to launch a second career advancing issues of great importance for women and society. Like Abby, many Barnard students, alumnae and faculty have used their academic and career successes to fuel social change. Additionally, our three other medalists embody our commitment to women in science, our dedication to environmental science and to sustainable practices, and our tradition of developing great writers,” Beilock said.

Graduates will also hear from Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald ’81, chair of the Barnard College Board of Trustees and CEO of The Alberleen Group.

In recent years, Barnard’s Commencement speakers have included Doctors Without Borders International President Joanne Liu, New America executive and Princeton University scholar Anne-Marie Slaughter, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee, President Barack Obama, actress Meryl Streep and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Barnard is the world-renowned liberal arts college for women at Columbia University. Founded in 1889, Barnard was the only college in New York City, and one of the few in the nation, where women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to men. Today, Barnard is one of the most selective academic institutions in the country and remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women to become even more exceptional. To request admission or for more information on Barnard’s Commencement, contact Barnard Media Relations at 212-854-2037 or


About the MedalistsFor high-resolution photos of the medalists, click here.

Abby Wambach, Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion, is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer history with 184 career goals. She was the United States leading scorer in the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup tournaments and the 2004 and 2012 Olympics,

Visit original >