On Friday, April 1, Brandeis announced the speakers and honorary degree recipients for the 2022 commencement ceremony. The ceremony will take place on May 22 and will be held at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) H’17 will address the Class of 2022 at the University’s 71st commencement exercises. Aerospace engineer and mathematician Christine Mann Darden and David Harris, the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, will both be awarded honorary degrees. 

Patrick was the first Black governor of Massachusetts and served from 2007 to 2015. He also served as the United States Assistant Attorney General from 1994 to 1997 and is known for investigating a series of arsons at predominantly Black churches in the South, according to the University website. He currently serves as the co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. A graduate of Harvard University, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brandeis in 2017. 

A "[re]commencement" will also be held for the classes of 2020 and 2021, both of which had virtual graduations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marta Kauffman ’78 H’20, who received an honorary Doctor of Creative Arts degree from the University in 2020, will speak to the classes of 2020 and 2021. Kauffman will be honored along with her fellow 2020 honorary degree recipients Alan Hassenfeld, Ruth Calderon, and Howardena Pindell. The 2021 honorary degree recipients were already recognized in fall 2021 at an on-campus ceremony, according to BrandeisNow. 

Kauffman is known for her work as one of the creators of the television series “Friends,” along with David Crane ’78. “Friends,” which is critically acclaimed and considered to be one of the most popular television shows of all time, received 62 Emmy nominations during the course of its run and won Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002. 

Kauffman also created the television show “Grace and Frankie,” which stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. In 2020, Kauffman was awarded the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television from the Producers Guild of America. 

“I’m grateful for the resilience, flexibility, and resolve you demonstrated during your final year at Brandeis and in the time since,” University President Ron Liebowitz said to 2020 and 2021 graduates in a video announcement in reference to the "[re]commencement" ceremony. “I hope you and your families will join us on the afternoon of Sunday, May 22 for an exciting graduation party with all the pomp and circumstance that you deserve.”