LOWELL -- A well-known political analyst who is the anchor of MSNBC Live and a civil rights leader who went on to become a renowned educator named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people will deliver commencement addresses at UMass Lowell this year.
More than 3,800 students are expected to graduate in two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13, marking the 10th year in a row that UMass Lowell has set a record for its number of graduates. The number of graduates has doubled since 2007, according to the university.
Steve Kornacki, a Groton native, will deliver the address at the 9 a.m. commencement for graduates of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the Manning School of Business; and the Graduate School of Education.
Freeman Hrabowski III will deliver the address at the 2:30 p.m. commencement for graduates of the College of Engineering; Kennedy College of Sciences; the College of Health Sciences and intercampus programs.
Kornacki was a regular face on MSNBC in the network's prime time coverage of the 2016 presidential election who provided analysis of voting patterns, exit polls and electoral data.
He previously hosted MTP Daily and Up with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC, and regularly fills in for Chris Matthews.
Kornacki previously covered Congress for Roll Call and was politics editor for Salon before joining MSNBC. He has also appeared on NBC's Today show, and has contributed to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
"I have deep feelings for this school and this area," Kornacki said in a press release. "It's an honor to address graduates who will take values that were forged here into the world."
Hrabowski was just 12-years-old when he took part in civil rights protests in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was spat on by Bull Connor and jailed for five days, despite his age, for taking part in the protests.
He went on to become a university president, having led the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for 25 years as the university became one of the nation's most respected science schools.
Former President Barack Obama named Hrabowski chairman of the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.
Hrabowski has authored several books and dedicated much of his career to expanding access to education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields for students from diverse backgrounds, according to a press release.
"I'm really looking forward to joining the UMass Lowell community to celebrate the achievements of this graduating class," Hrabowski said in a press release.
Chancellor Jacquie Moloney said both speakers will speak to graduates as men who saw history made right before their eyes.
"Steve Kornacki and Freeman Hrabowski have both witnessed history in the making," Moloney said in a press release. "Drawing on those experiences, they will bring a powerful message to our graduates about the importance of being engaged in the future course of our nation and the world, whether through participating in the political process or through working to ensure access for all to high-quality education, particularly in critical fields such as science and technology."
Both commencement ceremonies will be held at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.