People smiling

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

Commencement 2023

Johns Hopkins University celebrates the Class of 2023

Nearly 1,500 Hopkins undergrads received their degrees during the universitywide Commencement ceremony at Homewood Field

Johns Hopkins University's 147th Commencement ceremony took place Thursday morning at a sun-drenched Homewood Field, where the nearly 1,500 members of the Class of 2023 received their undergraduate degrees.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine was the surprise speaker for the event, delivering a moving speech via livestream to the assembled graduates about the indispensable ideals of freedom, self-determination, and democracy and his nation's ongoing fight to defend those ideals in the face of foreign aggression.

"This century will be our century, a century where freedom, innovation, and democratic values reign," Zelenskyy said. "A century where tyrannies that repress their own and seek to enslave their neighbors will vanish from us once and for all. But all of our tomorrows, and the tomorrows of our children and grandchildren, depends on each of our todays."

Zelenskyy's remarks were broadcast live on giant screens next to the stage at Homewood Field. Almost no one in attendance knew in advance that Zelenskyy would be the speaker—their first hint was the appearance of the distinctive blue and yellow flag of Ukraine in an introductory video. After his remarks, he received a lengthy standing ovation.

The ceremony, which also included the conferral of honorary degrees to eight distinguished recipients, including Zelenskyy, concluded shortly before noon.

In total, about 11,500 degrees, certificates, and diplomas have been awarded during divisional ceremonies throughout the week.