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Northwestern School of Communication

Billy Eichner (C00) to be the featured speaker at the 2024 SoC Convocation ceremony

Northwestern changed my life for the better in so many ways.”

Billy Eichner

The Northwestern University School of Communication is thrilled to announce that actor, comedian, writer, and producer Billy Eichner (C00) will be the featured speaker at SoC’s convocation ceremony on Saturday, June 8 at 9 a.m. at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston.

"Northwestern changed my life for the better in so many ways," Eichner says. "It is one of my favorite places, and I am truly honored to be the keynote speaker for the School of Communication’s convocation this year."

Eichner is a four-time Emmy Award nominee and perhaps best known as the creator and host of Billy on the Street, a star-studded New York City romp of pure hilarity that defies conventional description (and has racked up hundreds of millions of views on social media platforms). In 2022 Eichner cowrote, starred in, and produced Bros for Universal Pictures, making him the first openly gay man to create a major studio film in any genre. All major roles were played by openly LGBTQ+ actors. 

Eichner has lent his voice to dozens of projects, including the live action remake of Disney’s The Lion King, Bob’s Burgers, The Family Guy, and The Simpsons. He played scene stealer Craig Middlebrooks on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, was featured in two seasons of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, costarred in Hulu’s Difficult People, and has appeared in numerous other shows and movies. He is a perennial talk show favorite and a champion of social justice work, especially in diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ+ causes, and voter registration.

A native of Queens, New York, Eichner is a Class of 2000 graduate of the School of Communication and former theatre major.

“When it comes to highly entertaining and inspiring SoC success stories, you can’t get much better than Billy Eichner,” says E. Patrick Johnson, dean of the School of Communication. “His career and the causes he champions provide an example to our graduates that bucking convention and charting one’s own course are noble endeavors, that creating new genres in entertainment is still possible, and that staying true to yourself and your values is a pursuit worthy of celebration.”

Also a graduate of SoC, Kathryn Hahn (C95) will give the commencement address to all Northwestern Class of 2024 graduates the following day at Chicago's United Center. Both she and SoC alum and women's tennis legend Katrina Adams will receive honorary degrees at the ceremony.