In 2010, the Young America’s Foundation issued its 17th annual commencement-speaker survey which revealed that the nation’s top 100 universities – as rated by U.S. News & World Report – had invited many liberal or leftist ideologues, newsmakers, authors, and entrenched Washington insiders to speak at their graduation ceremonies that year; by contrast, few conservative speakers had been invited. This imbalance represented the continuation of a pattern that already had been well established for many years.
Specifically, eight Obama administration officials addressed the class of 2010 at America's 100 leading universities. These included President Barack Obama himself at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki at University of Vermont-Burlington; Attorney General Eric Holder at Boston University; U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Director of Office Management Peter Orszag at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at Washington University-St. Louis and Georgia Institute of Technology; Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano at American University; and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice at Stanford. Moreover, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at George Washington University.
By comparison, George W. Bush administration officials delivered commencement addresses at the same 100 schools only 14 times during the entire 8 years of Bush's presidency.
Other notable leftists who addressed the graduates at these elite schools in 2010 included news anchor Katie Couric at Case Western Reserve University; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at Cornell; CNN's Anderson Cooper at Tulane; newswoman Christiane Amanpour at Harvard; former U.S. President Bill Clinton at Yale; Columbia University president Lee Bollinger at Columbia; newsman Brian Williams at Notre Dame; actor Alec Baldwin at NYU; political analyst David Gergen at Ohio State; feminist Eleanor Smeal at Rutgers; television journalist Charlie Rose at North Carolina State; talk-show host Tavis Smiley at UC Riverside; and former Supreme Court Justice David Souter at Harvard.