Former V.P. Al Gore to speak at Spring Commencement


Al Gore, the 45th vice president of the United States and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for his work fighting climate change, will deliver the University of Michigan’s Spring Commencement address May 2 at Michigan Stadium.

Dramatist, actress and playwright Dominique Morisseau will deliver the Rackham Graduate Exercises address May 1 at Hill Auditorium.

Honorary degree recipients for Spring Commencement will be recommended to the Board of Regents at its March 26 meeting.

Renowned for his distinguished public service and environmental leadership, Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He was honored along with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for raising awareness of the dangers posed by climate change.

As vice president from 1993 to 2001, Gore helped negotiate the Kyoto Protocol that committed industrialized nations to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He also championed science and technology. Gore was the Democratic nominee for president in 2000, losing to President George W. Bush.

He has authored several books, including “An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It” and “The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Fear, Secrecy, and Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision Making, Degrade our Democracy, and Put Our Country and Our World in Peril.”

His 2007 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. A 2017 follow-up film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” showcased his efforts to persuade global leaders to invest in renewable energy.

Gore worked as a journalist before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee for four terms, starting in 1976. He was elected to the Senate in 1984 and 1990.

Gore is co-founder and chair of Generation Investment Management, and is founder and chair of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit dedicated to solving the global climate crisis. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins and a member of Apple Inc.’s board of directors.

Morisseau is one of America’s most produced playwrights, acclaimed for her lyrical dialogue, emotionally complex characters and authentic portrayals of people and communities struggling with economic and social change.

A Detroit native and U-M alumna, Morisseau earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2000. In 1999, she wrote, choreographed, directed, produced and performed in “The Blackness Blues: Time to Change the Tune, A Sister’s Story,” to showcase the talents of women of color in her program. It became a sensation on campus.

After graduating, Morisseau taught drama in Detroit and New York City, where she acted and competed in poetry slams.

A recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grant,” she has written more than two dozen plays, including “The Detroit Project,” a three-play cycle — “Detroit ’67,” “Paradise Blue,” and “Skeleton Crew” — examining the city’s sociopolitical history. Her work has premiered at such venues as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Public Theatre and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Morisseau lives in Los Angeles but maintains close ties to Michigan. In 2017, her play “Blood at the Root,” based loosely on the 2006 Jena Six case in Louisiana, was performed at the Arthur Miller Theatre in U-M’s Walgreen Drama Center.

Currently a Signature Theatre Residency Five Playwright in New York City, she regularly posts about race relations, gender equity and civil liberties on social media.


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