About Johns Hopkins


Return to News Releases

Johns Hopkins Commencement Set for May 18

May 11, 201
CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Office: 443-997-9906
Cell: 443-547-8805

About 1,500 students will claim their degrees Wednesday, May 18, at the commencement ceremony for all of Johns Hopkins University’s divisions and campuses.

Filmmaker Spike Lee, whose acclaimed works including Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever have challenged assumptions about race and prejudice, will be the speaker. Lee will also receive an honorary degree at the event.

Commencement will take place for the first time at Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., in downtown Baltimore. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. and the arena will open between 2:30 and 3 p.m.

To cover the ceremony, media will be required to RSVP and show media credentials to enter the arena.

The ceremony will feature remarks from President Ronald J. Daniels, the conferring of degrees and the bestowing of honorary degrees. In addition, all students in attendance will have their names announced as they file on stage to have their degrees recognized. Students will receive diplomas following the event.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The author of acclaimed novels including Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2014, Adichie writes stories inspired by her own life – she grew up in Nigeria and moved to the United States for college. She earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins’ Writing Seminars in 2003 and won a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2008.

Susan Baker: Founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Baker is the author of the Injury Fact Book and is known for developing the Injury Severity Score, a system used to assess patients with multiple injuries. She has tirelessly lobbied for life-saving tools, now common, such as airbags and child-safety caps.

Ellen M. Heller: The first woman appointed to be Maryland’s Administrative Circuit Court judge, Heller introduced court-ordered mediation for some civil cases, allowing them to be resolved faster and more affordably than through a trial. She is also chairwoman of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. She graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins in 1972.

Spike Lee: The filmmaker whose acclaimed works include Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever is also a writer, director, actor, producer, author, educator, and entrepreneur. The founder of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, Lee’s work is known for challenging assumptions about race and prejudice. He is also this year’s commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins.

Shale Stiller: A skilled trial attorney and a partner at DLA Piper, Stiller has helped draft Maryland’s statutory laws on estates and trusts. He has also advised several Johns Hopkins presidents. He earned a master of liberal arts degree at Johns Hopkins in 1977.

Laurie Zabin: The founding director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Zabin has led efforts in developing nations. A former Planned Parenthood director, Zabin, who has a PhD from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, is also an expert on teen pregnancy and reproductive rights.

Richard Axel: Axel was awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004 for work on how the brain deciphers the world of smell – research he did with his colleague Linda Buck. He continues to study the olfactory system as a professor of neuroscience, pathology, and biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia, and as an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Judith Rodin: Rodin is the president of The Rockefeller Foundation, an organization with a mission of promoting “the well-being of humanity throughout the world.” A former psychology professor, she served as provost of Yale and as the first woman president in the Ivy League at the University of Pennsylvania, her alma mater.

About the Graduating Class (as of May 4):

The total number of earned degrees, certificates and diplomas awarded for the 2015-2016 academic year is expected to be about 7,500. That includes:

Krieger School of Arts and Sciences: 2,099

Whiting School of Engineering: 1,625

Carey Business School: 825

School of Education: 692

Peabody Institute: 187

School of Nursing: 405

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies: 545

School of Medicine: 255

Bloomberg School of Public Health: 911

About the other ceremonies:

The nine academic divisions will hold the following additional commencement events:

School of Public Health
Tuesday, May 17, 3 p.m., Royal Farms Arena
Speaker: Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Hurley Children’s Hospital

School of Nursing
Thursday, May 19, 11 a.m., Shriver Hall
Speaker: Scott M. Newton, Director of Nursing, Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine and the Lifeline critical care transport program

Carey Business School
Tuesday, May 17, 10 a.m., Royal Farms Arena
Speaker: David M. Rubenstein, trustee emeritus of Johns Hopkins University and co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group

School of Education
Wednesday, May 18, 9 a.m., Royal Farms Arena
Speaker: Patrick T. McCarthy, president and CEO, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Whiting School of Engineering – Graduate
Monday, May 16, 10 a.m., Royal Farms Arena
Speaker: Phyllis A. Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, National Protection and Programs Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security

School of Medicine
Monday, May 16, 3 p.m., Royal Farms Arena
Speaker: Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

School of Advanced International Studies
Thursday, May 19, 11 a.m., DAR Constitution Hall
Speaker: Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

Peabody Conservatory
Wednesday, May 18, 10:30 a.m., Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall
Speaker: Awadagin Pratt, professor of piano and chairman of the Piano Department at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati

Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences – Graduate Ceremony
Monday, May 23, 11 a.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Speaker: Charles C. Mann, author and correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly, Science and Wired​.


Johns Hopkins University news releases are available online, as is information for reporters. To arrange a video or audio interview with a Johns Hopkins expert, contact a media representative listed above or visit our studio web page. Find more Johns Hopkins stories on the Hub.

Office of Communications
Johns Hopkins University
3910 Keswick Road, Suite N2600
Baltimore, Maryland 21211
Phone: 443-997-9009 | Fax: 443 997-1006