Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

Former President Barack Obama will headline televised prime-time commencement

Former US president Barack Obama (C) and wife Michelle Obama (L) attend a side event for the Obama Foundation in Kuala Lumpur on December 12, 2019. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo by MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Former President Barack Obama will deliver a televised prime-time commencement address for the Class of 2020 during an hour-long event that will also feature LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai and Ben Platt, among others.

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will simultaneously air the special May 16 at 7 p.m. CDT along with more than 20 other broadcast and digital streaming partners, according to the announcement Tuesday from organizers.

Several high school students from Chicago public schools and the Obama Youth Jobs Corps will join, as will the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe and H.E.R.

The event is titled “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.” It’s hosted by the education advocacy group XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation and The Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Obama will reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption of school life, especially for seniors who have missed out on their milestone rites of passage.

“This high school graduation season will be anything but ordinary — but that’s all the more reason why the Class of 2020 deserves extraordinary advice, heartfelt encouragement, and hard-won wisdom about facing new challenges in an uncertain world,” Russlynn Ali, CEO and co-founder of XQ Institute, said in a statement.

“We are grateful to President Obama for giving this gift to our nation’s three million high school seniors as they #GraduateTogether,” he added.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.