U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power will address graduates at Barnard's commencement ceremony at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the college announced on Wednesday.
This is the first year that Barnard's commencement will take place at Madison Square Garden. Since 2013, the ceremony has been held at Radio City Music Hall, after relocating from the South Lawn on Columbia's campus.
Power will also receive the Barnard Medal of Distinction at the ceremony alongside Simi Linton, an author and expert on disability and the arts; Nadia Lopez, the founding principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, which raised over $1 million after a student spoke about being inspired by Lopez in a Humans of New York blog post; and Diana Nyad, who successfully swam from the U.S. to Cuba in 2013 at the age of 64.
"As a journalist and as a diplomat, Ambassador Power's work has helped to advance the ways that scholars and world leaders think about today's most complex and crucial issues of human rights and international intervention," Barnard President Debora Spar said in a statement. "Her experiences and insights will surely inspire our graduates, whose own lives and careers will contribute to the future of our nation in an infinite number of ways."
Power began her career as a journalist, working for the Boston Globe, the New Republic, and The Economist. She won a Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for her 2003 book, "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide."
She joined then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's, CC '83, 2008 presidential campaign as a national security advisor. She resigned from that campaign after she referred to Obama's Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton as a "monster" in an interview with The Scotsman.
She rejoined Obama's staff when he was elected president in 2008, and Obama appointed Power as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in June 2013.
As U.N. ambassador, Power "works to advance U.S. interests, promote and defend universal values, and address pressing global challenges to global peace, security, and prosperity," according to her bio from the U.S. State Department, included in Barnard's press release.
Barnard Commencement will take place on May 17 at 2 p.m.