The University of Notre Dame has been an institution among institutions of higher learning for fast approaching two centuries.
And in all that time—and certainly for the 171 previous commencement ceremonies—no sitting vice president has ever spoken at its graduations. But that will all change May 21 when the university hosts its 172nd commencement.
Vice President Mike Pence has agreed to speak at the event. The White House issued the following statement to announce the historic request:
"It is extraordinarily humbling to return to my home state and address the graduates of Notre Dame," said Vice President Pence. "The young adults in the Class of 2017 will leave school with the charge and opportunity to make new discoveries and assume leadership roles that will make a profound impact benefiting the lives of millions of people. The hopes of their parents and our country go with them as they enter a world filled with optimism for the future."
Vice President Pence will join a list of distinguished commencement speakers at the University of Notre Dame that include presidents of the United States, prime ministers, leading journalists, military and government leaders, and numerous distinguished scholars.
During the ceremony, Notre Dame will also confer an honorary Doctor of Laws on the vice president.
Vice President Pence was born and raised in Indiana. He received his undergraduate degree from Hanover College and his law degree from Indiana University. The vice president was elected six times to represent East-Central Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2012, he was elected the 50th governor of Indiana. On Jan. 20, 2017, during the inauguration ceremony for President Donald Trump, Vice President Pence took the oath of office to become the 48th vice president of the United States.
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