MSNBC Host and Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to Deliver GW’s 2024 Commencement Address

The keynote by the former Obama and Biden administration adviser and host of MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki” will headline the Commencement ceremony on the National Mall.

May 1, 2024

Jen Psaki
2024 GW Commencement Speaker Jen Psaki

Jen Psaki, who served in two White House administrations including as White House Press Secretary for President Joe Biden and now hosts her own show on MSNBC, will give the 2024 Commencement address on the National Mall on May 19.

Psaki will also receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service.

Psaki, the host of MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” served as the nation’s 34th press secretary from Jan. 20, 2021, to May 13, 2022. In that job, she earned praise from the Associated Press as a communicator who “dug deep into policy, seeking an understanding that goes far beyond talking points.” Vogue magazine celebrated her for bringing “a mixture of warmth, humor, intelligence and edge” to the role of press secretary.

Psaki served as a long-time adviser to President Barack Obama and was the traveling press secretary on his first campaign for the White House. She served the Obama administration as its White House Communications Director from 2015 to 2017, as well as Deputy Communications Director from 2009 to 2011 and Deputy Press Secretary in 2009. Psaki also served from 2013 to 2015 as the Obama administration’s public face on the global stage during her tenure as the State Department Spokesperson, traveling the world with Secretary of State John Kerry. Prior to her role as White House Press Secretary, Psaki spent 2017 through her 2020 appointment in the Biden administration as a political commentator at CNN.

 “Inside with Jen Psaki,” airs at noon Sunday and 8 p.m. Monday on MSNBC. She also appears across all of MSNBC’s flagship programs, providing perspective from her firsthand experience at the highest levels of government. Psaki is a principal voice in the network’s primetime coverage of major political events and regularly contributes to NBC News, “Meet the Press” and election night programming.

Psaki also writes a regular column for the cable network’s morning newsletter, MSNBC Daily, and contributes to all MSNBC platforms across audio, social media. Her new book, “Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World,” is scheduled for release on May 7. In the book, Psaki shares the lessons she’s learned on her path that has led her to the White House and beyond and offers unique yet universal advice about how to be a more effective communicator in any situation.

“As a respected political commentator, former White House Press Secretary, and champion of truth and ethical public service, Jen Psaki will no doubt be an inspiration to our students,” President Ellen M. Granberg said. “I am honored that Ms. Psaki will provide the keynote address at Commencement and share her wisdom with this next generation of leaders and change-makers.”

A native of Greenwich, Conn., Psaki graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in English and sociology from the College of William & Mary.

She joins the ranks of previous GW Commencement speakers, including former First Lady Michelle Obama; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.); chef, humanitarian and human rights advocate José Andrés; NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie; and actor, director and producer Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98. She succeeds renowned social justice advocate and civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who delivered GW’s 2023 Commencement address. These speakers have added to a long line of GW Commencement guests stretching back to the first graduation ceremony in 1824, which honored the Marquis de Lafayette and Henry Clay.

“I am honored to be invited to join the Class of 2024 in celebrating their many achievements and time at this historic institution,” said Psaki. “I look forward to joining the graduates and their loved ones as they enter the next chapter in their lives.”

Visit GW’s Commencement website for additional information about the week’s schedule and events.