Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, countless high school and college seniors are missing out on the milestone of graduation ceremonies, along with the inspiring words that come in the form of a commencement speech. To bring some words of advice and encouragement to these hard-working students, iHeartMedia has announced a new, limited podcast series called Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020, launching 15 May. The podcast will feature accomplished thought leaders from a variety of fields, including recording artists like Halsey, John Legend and Kesha, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach and comedian and TV host Chelsea Handler.
In an official statement, Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartPodcast Network, said, “High school and college seniors are always in need of inspiration, reassurance and life advice as they head into the next chapter of their lives, and that is especially true this year. Speeches for the Class Of 2020 brings together some of the most experienced and inspiring people in the country today to celebrate the resilience, strength and accomplishments of this year’s graduates. These are the speakers our graduates would have had at their real-world ceremonies if not for current circumstances, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring them together through this podcast.”
The speeches, which will all be produced specifically for the podcast, will also be given by the likes of NFL football legend Eli Manning, restaurateur and TV personality David Chang, award-winning journalist Katie Couric, cosmetics icon Bobbi Brown, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and comedian and TV host Jimmy Fallon. Other artists participating include DJ Khaled, Tim McGraw, Pitbull and Khalid. Speeches will also be given by iHeartRadio’s on-air personalities and podcast hosts, including Ryan Seacrest, Angie Martinez and Bobby Bones.
Halsey, who received the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award last year at the 50th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction, is no stranger to offering words of hope. The inspiring artist is not only a gifted, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter but is also an outspoken advocate for mental health and suicide prevention, among many other important issues. Her critically-acclaimed third album, Manic, was released in January.