Anne-Marie Slaughter to deliver 2018 commencement address
Foreign policy expert, law professor and former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter will deliver the commencement address for the class of 2018, Chancellor Mark Wrighton announced at the senior class toast April 5.
Slaughter is also widely known for her 2012 Atlantic Magazine article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” that prompted a national debate on the difficulties surrounding the work-life balance for women. Current president and CEO of New America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic platform, Slaughter is known for her dedication to bringing about a “new America” in the age of rapid technological and social change.
In 2009, Slaughter became the first female director of policy planning for the State Department, serving under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton until 2011. When she left the department, she received its highest honor, the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award for her work in leading the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.
In addition to delivering the commencement address, Slaughter will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from Washington University. Slaughter received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1980 before going on to earn her master’s and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where she was a Princeton M. Daniel’s Scholar, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
According to Wrighton, Slaughter’s international recognition as an expert on foreign policy issues makes her a great candidate to address the class of 2018.
“Anne-Marie Slaughter is an internationally renowned expert and author on issues of foreign policy and national security and identity,” Wrighton wrote in a statement. “I have no doubt that her message to our new graduates and their families will be insightful and inspirational.”
Slaughter, herself, is excited to be delivering the commencement address, having retweeted Washington University’s The Source announcement on April 6 saying, “I am hugely honored to do so.”
Some seniors are more excited than others for Slaughter’s commencement speech.
“I was really excited to hear that we were going to have someone who was such a distinguished policy maker and with such a firm grasp on America’s place in the world,” senior Sam Klein said.“[She is] someone that has commented on the work-life balance and really driven the conversation…that really got people talking about the gender dynamics of an issue that tends to be overlooked in the common dialogue.”
“To be frank, as [senior class president], I would have liked to see someone that brought a lot of excitement to the class someone that people would look forward to,” Bill Feng said. “I wasn’t disappointed, but it was a bittersweet moment. I thought maybe we could get someone who would bring a little more excitement.”
Despite the lack in name recognition, Feng still believes that Slaughter will deliver a crowd-pleasing speech.
“From her resume, I think Anne-Marie Slaughter is someone who will give a very inspiring speech, and someone who has a really interesting perspective on this moment in time in America; so, I am looking forward to it,” Feng said.
Wrighton also believes that she will provide insight on the issue of work-life balance and the state of our country today.
“I look forward to hearing her message as an astute observer of the state of America and its future, especially as that relates to our concept of family and the important issue of work-life balance,” Wrighton added. “She has thought deeply and written widely on these concerns, and our graduates will benefit from hearing from her at this key moment of their lives.”
Additional reporting by Jon Lewis