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Bhatia-Gautier ‘86 announced as Baccalaureate speaker

Eduardo Bhatia-Gautier ‘86, former President of the Puerto Rico Senate, has been selected as Baccalaureate speaker for the 2018 Commencement.

Baccalaureate, an interfaith service that begins each year’s graduation ceremonies, is one of Princeton’s oldest traditions. It dates back to a 1760 address by the fourth president of the University, Samuel Davies. This year’s service will take place on Sunday, June 3, followed by Class Day on Monday and Commencement on Tuesday.


Bhatia-Gautier is a graduate of Stanford Law School and a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship. As an undergraduate, Bhatia-Gautier concentrated in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He was a member of the Princeton Democratic Students Association and Student Council and participated in the student movement against apartheid in South Africa. This early political engagement carried over into a long career in American and Puerto Rican public service.

“An accomplished and dedicated public servant, Eduardo Bhatia-Gautier has continuously fought to advance the well-being of Puerto Rico and its citizens,” said president of the senior class Brandon McGhee ‘18 in a University press release. McGhee declined to comment further for this article.

Bhatia-Gautier served as a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1990 to 1991. The following year he was the Chief of Staff for the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the U.S. Congress. In 1996, he was elected Senator at Large for Puerto Rico.

His life in public office continued when was elected in 2012 as the 15th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico. During his tenure, he focused on improving the education and fiscal systems on the island. Bhatia-Gautier continues to serve in the Puerto Rican Senate as the current minority leader.

“Throughout his public life, Mr. Bhatia-Gautier has embodied Princeton’s informal motto ‘Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity’ by working on pertinent health, environmental and economic issues, and advocating for more educational and employment opportunities for youth in Puerto Rico,” McGhee explained. “I am confident that Mr. Bhatia-Gautier will impart wisdom and inspire us all as we prepare to embark on a journey that extends beyond the gates of Princeton.”