Former President Bill Clinton will serve as Ohio State's spring commencement speaker June 10, university officials said Monday.
Clinton will be addressing about 7,500 undergraduates, graduates and professional students who will be receiving degrees at the ceremony.
After Barack Obama and Jon Stewart both declined OSU's invitation to speak at this year's ceremony, university officials began seeking alternatives. Ultimately, they chose Clinton.
When searching for a keynote speaker, university officials look for someone who will be a good public speaker with a meaningful message and someone with name recognition, said Amy Murray, assistant director for Media Relations.
"We're very lucky to have Clinton speaking to the graduates," Murray said. "He is going to deliver a message that is meaningful to everybody."
Clinton served two consecutive terms as the 42nd president of the United States from 1992 to 2000.
During Clinton's administration, he implemented the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, allowing homosexual men and women the right to serve in the military, providing their sexual identity was kept secret. Clinton also restricted the sale of handguns after he signed the Brady Bill, and he turned a massive federal budget deficit into a surplus.
Since completing his term in office, Clinton has remained active in the political spectrum, addressing some of the most serious issues of the 21st century. The Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS initiative has made treatment for HIV/AIDS more affordable. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Clinton teamed up with the Bush administration and led a nationwide fund-raising effort to secure private relief donations for Katrina victims. Clinton's foundation is also focused on addressing the Earth's global climate change.
"Ohio State is honored to welcome the former president at Ohio Stadium for this important celebration of scholarship,"According to a press release by OSU President Karen A. Holbrook. "President Clinton is a prominent leader with extraordinary insight into the issues that our graduates will face, and I'm sure his words will be an inspiration."
Clinton has been making his way around the commencement track this year. He delivered the commencement speech at the University of Michigan April 28, and is slated to speak at Rochester Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Middlebury College.
Recent spring commencement speakers include Bill Cosby, Christopher Reeve, President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Spring graduation will be held at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, June 10 in Ohio Stadium. The event is free and open to the public.