Hampshire College Announces 54th Commencement Keynote Speaker Chelsea E. Manning
Hampshire College’s 2024 Commencement ceremony, which will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, will feature keynote speaker Chelsea E. Manning, a vocal advocate for government transparency and queer and transgender rights.
Manning is a technologist and network security expert, analyst, and consultant whose actions showed the world that the conscience of individuals can make urgent change through bravery and determination.
Manning is also an author, a DJ, and a public speaker who lectures to draw attention to the social, technological, and economic ramifications of artificial intelligence, and on the practical applications of machine learning. She uses her presence on social media and through her op-ed columns for the Guardian and the New York Times to advance these issues.
Manning was an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense when she disclosed classified documents that revealed alleged human rights abuses and corruption connected to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon being sentenced to 35 years in prison for her actions — an unprecedented amount of time for the charges alleged — she publicly identified as a trans woman and asserted her legal rights to medical therapy. After she served seven years in military prison, President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to time served. In 2019, she was the subject of the documentary XY Chelsea. She described her journey in her memoir, ReadMe.txt, published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux in 2022.
The entire Hampshire community was invited to submit nominations for Commencement speaker, and the 2024 graduates voted based on that list.