Soledad O’Brien ’88 Named Harvard College Class Day Speaker

The class of 2013 will hear a star of the twenty-fifth-reunion class.

Soledad O'Brien

CNN special correspondent and twenty-fifth reunioner Soledad O’Brien ’88 will be the principal guest speaker for the seniors celebrating Class Day, on Wednesday, May 29, officers of the class of 2013 announced late Tuesday. First marshal Nina Yancy ’13 told the Harvard Gazette it was “rare to hear from someone who has achieved such success and who not only can relate to our lives as undergraduates, but specifically wants to share her story with us.”

The winner of an Emmy in 2011 for her reporting from Haiti, O’Brien was also a member of CNN teams whose coverage of the Gulf oil spill, Hurricane Katrina, and the Southeast Asia tsunami won national broadcasting awards. She has hosted and developed Black in America, one of CNN’s most successful international franchises, and is about to launch her own company, Starfish Media Group.

In 2010 she published a memoir, The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities; in discussing her book with Time senior reporter Andrea Sachs, she mentioned that Harvard “sometimes was a struggle because I didn't feel super comfortable there.” (She didn’t complete her A.B. until 2000.) Now the class of 2013 is helping rectify that. Harvard Crimson staff writer Laya Anasu reports that class marshals Yancy and Scott Yim “said that O’Brien told them she never had the chance to experience Class Day for herself—and that as a result, this Class Day would be her own.” 

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