Rashida Jones ’97 Named Class Day Speaker

The actress will address the class of 2016 on May 25.

Rashida Jones
Photograph courtesy of Rashida Jones
 

Comedic actress Rashida Jones ’97 will be the principal guest speaker for Harvard College seniors celebrating their Class Day in Tercentenary Theatre on May 25. She was chosen and invited to speak by a subcommittee of eight class marshals, who considered speakers suggested by classmates as part of a senior-class survey.

“I am truly honored to come back to campus and speak at Class Day 2016. Harvard was such a transformative place for me in so many ways,” Jones said in a statement. “It’s where I first had the idea for Facebook, which went on to make me billions of dollars and change the world. Oh wait, that wasn’t me…”

Jones, an accomplished screenwriter, philanthropist, and comic-book author, is best known for her roles in more than 20 films, television shows such as The Office and Parks and Recreation, and, most recently, as the title character in the TBS comedy Angie Tribeca. The daughter of musician Quincy Jones, D.Mus. ’97, and model turned The Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton, Jones said of her parents in a recent Vanity Fair profile that she is “the genetic expression of all their secret academic dreams.” 

According to Harvard officials, nine alumni have been selected to deliver the Class Day address since 1968, with Jones not only the fourth consecutive alumna to give the address but also the first relative of a former Class Day speaker (her father, in 1997) to receive the honor.

“As a Harvard College alumna, Rashida Jones knows what it is like to balance commitments—whether it was her involvement with the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, the Signet Society, or the Black Students Association—with academics and the many other facets of college life,” class marshal Gabriela Ruiz-Colon ’16, co-chair of the speaker-selection committee, said in a press release. “She has taken this experience and shown an extraordinary ability to use her celebrity platform to make the world a better place.”

Class Day events will take place in Tercentenary Theatre beginning at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, and will also be streamed live online

Read more articles by Laura Levis

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