Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and commentator Jon Meacham to address Tulane’s 2024 graduates

One of America’s foremost public intellectuals will address graduates at Tulane’s 2024 commencement. Jon Meacham, the acclaimed presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, will share his insights, perspectives and behind-the-scenes knowledge of America’s history and its leaders at Commencement 2024, which will take place at 6:30 p.m., May 18, in Yulman Stadium.  

“Jon Meacham is a towering figure in academia and one of the country’s leading thinkers,” Tulane President Michael A. Fitts said. “Insightful, humorous and engaging, his breadth of knowledge across fields – history, politics, religion, culture, current events and more – reflects the breadth, depth and interdisciplinary focus of our graduates. What a wonderful speaker to celebrate the achievements of our graduates.”

A contributor to major national media outlets including TIME and The New York Times Book Review, Meacham is a frequent guest on programs such as “Morning Joe;” “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle.” The biographer of George H.W. Bush, Meacham delivered eulogies at both the former president and first lady Barbara Bush’s funerals.

Meacham has penned numerous national bestsellers including works on Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. He is also author of American Gospel; God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation, and His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope. The latter is a portrait of the civil rights icon, longtime U.S. congressman and Tulane University honorary degree recipient.

“Tulane University is a special institution located in one of my favorite cities,” Meacham said. “I look forward to celebrating with graduates on this day of joy and also encouraging them to use their gift of higher learning to lead the way in addressing the fundamental economic, political and moral challenges of our nation and world.”

Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, Meacham is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He is a distinguished visiting professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, where he holds the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency and serves as co-chair of the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy. He also serves as Canon Historian of Washington National Cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal Church.

Meacham has hosted two critically acclaimed History Channel podcasts: “Hope Through History” and “It Was Said.” His other bestsellers include, among others, Songs of America, co-written with musician Tim McGraw, and The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. He also served as editor of the anthology Voices in our Blood: America’s Best on the Civil Rights Movement which features works by Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, Richard Wright and John Lewis.

Meacham is the latest in a long line of acclaimed Tulane commencement speakers who have included former U.S. presidents, leading entertainers and international figures. Tulane commencements are widely known for their unique New Orleans flavor that includes live jazz performances, second-lining graduates, Mardi Gras beads, a Gonfalon-led academic procession, fireworks and Crescent City joie de vivre.