Activism and Anatomy: Kelly McCreary Named 2023 Commencement Speaker


Maeve Sanford-Kelly ’26
Staff Writer

When Scripps seniors graduate at commencement on May 13, they can look forward to seeing Grey’s Anatomy actress and voting rights advocate Kelly McCreary on stage delivering their commencement address.

McCreary, who is best known for playing Meredith Grey’s half sister, Dr. Maggie Pierce, on Grey’s Anatomy, was selected to speak by senior class co-presidents Elaine Yang ’23 and Ishi Gupta ’23 after a long process which included extensive student input. “We had this event where we had a huge white board and had seniors come up and write down their potential speakers, like people they would like to see, and then we had a column of qualities they would like to see in the commencement speaker,” Yang said.

After narrowing down the prospects, it was clear to Yang and Gupta that McCreary would be a perfect fit. Her political activism, devotion to feminist causes, and experience as an alum of a historically women’s college (McCreary attended Barnard College) aligned with the values of the Scripps senior class.

In addition to her acting career, McCreary has been active in a multitude of political causes including as an ambassador for Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote campaign and advocating for protecting choice in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision.

“Something about Kelly McCreary that we really liked was the idea of the truth and her practicing her truth every day,” Yang said. “She’s an actress, but in addition to that, she uses her platform to stand for people who can’t stand up for themselves.”

The connection to truth, and living one’s own truth, was especially poignant for Yang and Gupta who were looking to tie the commencement address to the Class of 2023’s core theme: Truth. “The entertainment industry is somewhere you sometimes have to conform to the standard and [McCreary] is unequivocally her own person and always strives to own her truth and be authentic,” Yang said.

In a letter to the Scripps community, former Scripps President Suzanne Keen celebrated the selection of McCreary as “an exceptional speaker who will challenge and inspire us all.”

Moreover, the Scripps community is intrigued and excited to watch McCreary grace the stage at commencement. Seniors, in particular, wait in eager anticipation. “I know [McCreary] is a women’s college grad. I’m really excited to hear her insights and what she has to share,” Annelise Palacio ’23 said.

McCreary has welcomed the invitation to honor graduating Scripps seniors. In her message to the school community, the actress expressed her gratitude for being selected for this role.

“Scripps College students are known to be seekers and speakers of truth, as well as leaders empowered to build compassionate community,” McCreary wrote. “They are graduating into a world that is ready and waiting for their mighty contributions. It is my honor to join the class of 2023 as they celebrate this momentous occasion.”

Image Source: TVLine

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