Teach For America Chair Wendy Kopp to Deliver Boston University Commencement Address


CONTACT: Kira Jastive 617-358-1240 or kjastive@bu.edu

(Boston) – Boston University today announced that Wendy Kopp, Founder and Chair of Teach For America and CEO and Co-Founder of Teach For All, will deliver the commencement address at Boston University’s 140th graduation ceremonies at BU’s Nickerson Field at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 19th.

Ms. Kopp will speak before nearly 6,700 graduates and 20,000 guests at New England’s largest graduation ceremony. Kopp will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

BU President Robert A. Brown announced the commencement, baccalaureate speakers and honorary degree recipients to the members of the Class of 2013 this morning at the annual Senior Breakfast, held at the George Sherman Union.

Brown also revealed that Bishop Peter D. Weaver, Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops and retired Resident Bishop for the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, will deliver the Commencement Day baccalaureate address at 11:00 a.m. at Marsh Chapel. Weaver will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

The prestigious list of honorary degree recipients also includes Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman (Doctor of Humane Letters), and the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT Robert S. Langer (Doctor of Science). In addition, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino (HON ’01) will be honored at commencement with a Boston University Medallion for his service to the community.

Also announced today are the recipients of BU’s Metcalf Cup and Prize and Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Receiving the esteemed Metcalf Cup is School of Medicine (MED) Assistant Dean of Admissions and Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology Deborah W. Vaughan. This year’s Metcalf Award winners are College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) Associate Professor of Biology John R. Finnerty and School of Education (SED) Associate Professor Carol B. Jenkins. The Metcalf Cup carries with it a prize of $10,000 and the Metcalf Award winners receive $5,000. Students, faculty and alumni nominate candidates for the awards established in 1973 by a gift from the late Boston University Board of Trustees chairman emeritus Arthur G.B. Metcalf.

Wendy Kopp, a native of Austin, Texas, attended Princeton University. There, for her undergraduate senior thesis in 1989, she developed a proposal for an organization that would address problems of educational inequality in America. Her idea called for recruiting outstanding recent college graduates from all academic fields who would commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools, with the expectation that many of these people would become lifelong leaders in the education community.

From that proposal, she founded Teach For America, serving as CEO until earlier this year, when she became Chair of the Board. Ms. Kopp has spent more than twenty years working to expand the organization’s impact. Under her leadership, Teach For America’s nearly 38,000 participants have reached more than three million children nationwide during their two-year teaching commitments. Many have sustained their -commitment as alumni of the program, working inside and outside the field of education to ensure educational excellence and equity for all children.

Ms. Kopp is also chief executive officer and co-founder of Teach For All, a global network of independent social enterprises that are working to expand educational opportunity in nations around the world by recruiting and developing promising future leaders to commit two years to teach in high-need areas and become lifelong leaders for educational excellence and equity in their countries.

Ms. Kopp is the author of the bestseller A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All and One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way. She is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards for public service. She resides in New York City with her husband, Richard Barth, and their four children.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research.  With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.  BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission.  In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

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High-resolution digital photographs of the 2013 BU Commencement participants can be downloaded at:


 Password: bu2013