Astrophysicist and CNN anchor named Kean University 2024 commencement speakers

CNN news anchor Abby Phillip, left, and acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, right, will be the featured speakers for Kean University’s 2024 undergraduate and graduate commencements.

UNION — Acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and CNN news anchor Abby Phillip will share their insight with Kean University graduates as the featured speakers for the university’s 2024 undergraduate and graduate commencements.

“At Kean University our goal is to launch our graduates onto successful career paths and Neil deGrasse Tyson and Abby Phillip are both inspiring examples of success and excellent role models for our students,” said Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet. “We are extremely proud to welcome these two stellar individuals to speak to our 2024 Kean graduating classes.”

Tyson, the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium and a highly-respected scientist known for his work on PBS Nova, Discovery and numerous documentary and news appearances, will address undergraduates and their families on Thursday, May 16, at Kean’s undergraduate commencement at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Tyson, who has a doctorate of astrophysics from Columbia University, will also be presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his outstanding contributions as an astrophysicist.

Phillip, anchor of the cable network’s NewsNight with Abby Phillip and a former senior political correspondent and anchor of Inside Politics Sunday, will deliver her address to post-baccalaureate students at graduate commencement on Tuesday, May 14, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Phillip is making her second appearance before a Kean audience after serving as a president’s distinguished lecturer in 2022.

Steve Fastook, Class of 2006, and president of the Kean University Board of Trustees, said Tyson and Phillip will shine as memorable commencement speakers.

“Our undergraduate and graduate commencements are the pinnacle of our academic year at Kean and a time that we celebrate the hard work and dedication of our graduates,” Fastook said. “We look forward to the added excitement these speakers will bring to our ceremonies.”

Tyson is an oft-quoted and world-renowned scientist, who has shared his knowledge on TV programs on PBS, NatGeo and other outlets; in numerous documentaries, films and podcasts; and even played himself in television comedies, including The Big Bang Theory and the animated series The Simpsons. He has also written numerous books and currently serves as astrophysicist and Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History.

Phillip anchors NewsNight with Abby Phillip, airing weeknights at 10 p.m., covering the day’s biggest stories with a sharp, insightful approach. During her meteoric rise at CNN, she has moderated presidential debates; covered the White House during the Trump administration; and anchored special coverage of Election Night in America surrounding the 2020 election.

Photos Courtesy of CNN, StarTalk / C. Picadas