Penn Picks Cory Booker for 2017 Commencement Speech

The New Jersey senator's views align with those espoused in the university's recent statements, especially regarding President Trump's executive order on immigration.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will speak at the 2017 commencement ceremony for the University of Pennsylvania, the university announced today. 

“We are honored to bestow our highest degree on Senator Cory Booker and have him address our graduates at Penn’s 261st Commencement,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a statement. “Senator Booker is a passionate advocate and defender of our nation’s most important democratic ideals. During his four-year service in the Senate he has repeatedly reached across the aisle and been a leader on issues such as criminal justice reform, providing support and resources for local law enforcement, comprehensive immigration reform and fostering economic opportunity.”

Booker, a Democrat who served as mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013, has harshly criticized President Donald Trump, his cabinet picks and many of his policies – including, most recently, the president’s executive order on immigration, which some are referring to as a “ban on Muslims.”

Yesterday, Gutmann harshly criticized the executive order, calling it “injurious to our work and inimical to our value.”

“The damage already done to the lawful freedoms and opportunities of our students and colleagues, here and around the world, is undeniable and indefensible,” Gutmann penned in a letter posted to the university’s website.

Booker, a likely contender for the 2020 presidential election, was at one point on Hillary Clinton’s shortlist of potential vice presidential picks. He spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last summer.

Penn’s 2017 commencement will be held on May 15th.

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