By Jessica Wehrman and Encarnacion Pyle
President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University’s graduation ceremonies this year, the White House announced.
The trip is his first scheduled trip to Ohio since he stopped in Columbus with singer Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.
Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for noon on Sunday, May 5 at Ohio Stadium. This will be the largest class in university history and the first spring graduation on the semester system. About 12,000 students are expected to graduate that day.
“Ohio State is honored to have President Obama address our graduates and their families at the largest commencement in school history,” said Ohio State President Gordon Gee. “That the final chapter of our graduates’ college experience will be written by the leader of our remarkable nation is an uncommon and unforgettable distinction.”
Obama is the third sitting president to deliver Ohio State’s commencement address. George W. Bush spoke to spring graduates in 2002. Gerald Ford addressed summer graduates shortly after rising to the presidency in 1974. Both George H. W. Bush and Walter Mondale also spoke to graduates when they were vice president. Bill Clinton spoke to graduates in 2007, but that was years after his presidency concluded.
This will be Obama’s fifth visit to Ohio State in the last 16 months. Last March, he delivered a speech on alternative energy and energy independence. In May, he officially kicked-off his re-election campaign at OSU. In August, he made a brief visit to the Ohio Union. And in October, he visited Ohio State for a campaign rally on the Oval.
His last trip to the state happened in Nov. 5, when he appeared in Columbus with singer Bruce Springsteen. According to the White House, he has not been to Ohio since, though it’s possible he could be in the state before May 5.
Additional security measures will be in place for the president’s visit in May. The university will require all guests to have a ticket. Each graduate will be eligible for four tickets for their guests. Tickets are free, but graduates must present a photo ID to get their tickets. Graduates do not need a ticket for commencement.