bill hader in academic gown with chapman university seal behind him
Emmy-winning actor, writer and director Bill Hader was the keynote speaker during Chapman University's Commencement Ceremony.

Chapman Grads Cross the Stage ‘In Celebration of Us’ Bill Hader, award-winning actor, director and writer, was presented with an honorary degree during Commencement festivities for Chapman University's Class of 2024.

Bill Hader offered heartfelt advice to the graduates during the 2024 University Commencement ceremony.

Chapman University celebrated the Class of 2024 with a weekend of festivities, headlined by Emmy-winning actor, writer and director Bill Hader as the keynote speaker during Friday night’s University Commencement Ceremony.

“I’m sure you remember the beginning of your journey here at Chapman was a bit unconventional,” said university President Daniele C. Struppa during Friday night’s University Commencement Ceremony, recalling how the graduating students’ first year was marked by remote instruction and virtual gatherings during the global pandemic. Struppa praised the graduates for rising to the occasion to become successful students despite the challenges.

“As you look forward to a future that may not be clear … I know that you are ready because you have already faced significant challenges, and those challenges will be in your mind when you face new challenges in the future,” he said. 

Rachel Berns ’24, student government president and this year’s Cheverton Award recipient, also acknowledged the special significance of the weekend’s event, noting that many of her fellow graduates have never had the opportunity to cross a stage and hear a crowd cheer “in celebration of us.” 

Hader opened his remarks with a casual, “Hey, guys,” and joked, “I look out onto you and I see so many young people –  I’ve never seen so many young people – so thrilled to be on a jumbotron.”

Hader continued to joke with the audience throughout his speech, including an impromptu impression of President Struppa, but ultimately had heartfelt advice to offer to the graduates. “If you do a good job, be on time, learn from your mistakes, and be drama free, you’ll work forever,” he said. 

“I thought I had to come out of the gate and be amazing – you can’t really control that. The best thing to do is love the process of making a thing,” he said. “If I was your age and I knew I gotta love the process, I would stop worrying so much and know that it takes a bit.” 

Watch the full University Commencement ceremony here

Hader was one of five individuals presented with honorary degrees during the Friday evening events. Senior staff also recognized faculty and student award winners, and graduates were formally welcomed to the Chapman University Alumni Association by Michelle Philo ’03, president of the Alumni Association. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, President Struppa formally conferred graduates with their degrees as undergraduate students moved their tassels from the right to left. Afterward, the graduates and their families were invited to Aitken Arts Plaza for the traditional President’s Toast and a celebratory fireworks show over the Musco Center. 

Over 2,500 graduates, cheered on by friends and family, had the opportunity to cross the stage during individual degree ceremonies for each school and college that took place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more photos, visit Chapman University’s Facebook page.


Emmy-winner Uzo Aduba spoke to graduates during the degree ceremony for Dodge College of Film and Media Studies..


President Daniele Struppa (left) presented Chapman University President Emeritus James L. Doti with an honorary Doctor of the University degree, in honor of his 50 years of service to Chapman.

big group

Chapman graduates of the Class of 2024.

small group

Students from the Class of 2024.

ted lasso

Graduates shared inspirational messages on their grad caps, like this one from Ted Lasso.


Students of the Class of 2024 making memories that will last a lifetime.

Staci Dumoski

Your Header Sidebar area is currently empty. Hurry up and add some widgets.