Oglethorpe University’s Commencement Ceremony honoring the graduating Class of 2019 will be held on Saturday, May 18 at 9:00 a.m. This year’s commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient is Donald E. Graham, chairman of the board of the Graham Holdings Company and former publisher of The Washington Post.
Graham also co-founded TheDream.US, the largest national college scholarship fund for DREAMers. In 2019, Oglethorpe became the first Georgia college or university to partner with TheDream.US, and the first institution in a “locked out” state, where DREAMers cannot get in-state tuition or state financial aid. Oglethorpe will present Graham with the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
“Throughout his career and his life, Don Graham has been a stalwart leader, a guardian of the freedom of the press, and an advocate for the education of our youth, regardless of where they were born,” said Oglethorpe University President Lawrence M. Schall, J.D., Ed.D. “His determination to put his convictions into action is a model for our graduates as they set out to make a difference in the world.”
President Schall, together with alumnus Timothy P. Tassopoulos, chair of the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees and president & chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc., will preside over the commencement ceremony for approximately 200 graduates. Additional commencement speakers will include student leaders Deon Heavens, senior class president, and Brad Firchow, president of the Student Government Association. Further details may be found at commencement.oglethorpe.edu.
Mr. Donald E. Graham was elected to the Board of Graham Holdings Company in 1974 and became chairman in 1993. He served as chief executive officer of Graham Holdings Company, previously The Washington Post Company, from 1991-2015. He was publisher of The Washington Post newspaper from 1979-2000. Graham was born in Baltimore, Maryland, a son of Philip L. and Katharine Meyer Graham. His father was publisher of The Washington Post (1946-1961) and president of The Washington Post Company from 1947 until his death in 1963. His mother assumed the reins of the company and the Post after his father’s death and became the first female Fortune 500 CEO in 1972, after taking the company public in 1971. Eugene Meyer, Graham’s grandfather, purchased The Washington Post at a bankruptcy sale in 1933. After graduating in 1966 from Harvard College, Graham was drafted and served as an information specialist with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam from 1967-1968. He was a patrolman with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department from January 1969 to June 1970. Graham joined The Washington Post newspaper in 1971 as a reporter.
Graham is a co-founder of TheDream.US, the largest national scholarship fund for DREAMers. Previously, he served as chairman of the District of Columbia College Access Program. He remains a member of the DC-CAP board. DC-CAP has assisted over 23,000 DC students enroll in college and has provided scholarships totaling more than $33 million. Graham is a trustee of the Federal City Council and KIPP-DC.