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Trevor Noah announced as 2021 Class Day speaker

“Trevor Noah” by Hayden Schiff / Wikimedia Commons

On April 13, the University announced that author and comedian Trevor Noah will be the 2021 Class Day speaker. 

Class Day, which will take place virtually this year, is presented by members of the graduating class and features student prizes and speeches, as well as a speaker chosen by members of the class. 


The event was planned by Class Day Chairs Morgan Smith ’21, Michael Wang ’21, and Kamya Yadav ’21, as well as by senior class president Emma Parish ’21. 

Yadav, an international student from New Delhi, India, was quoted by the University’s announcement, stating, “As an international student, it is rare to see faces who also come from international backgrounds be successful in unconventional career paths. Watching Noah make an impact not just in the world of comedy globally but also in the field of education in South Africa fills me with hope that many of us will go on to make a difference in the multiple places we call home.”

In the announcement video posted to the University website and social media, Wang told the Class of 2021, “We’re thrilled to invite Mr. Noah for his unique ability to bring joy to everybody in this highly stressful and transformative year.” 

Smith, also in the announcement, said, “Noah is more than impressive for just his humor and wit: he’s gone beyond his calling in service to his community. The work of the Trevor Noah Foundation in increasing accessibility to quality education clearly embodies our values as Princetonians.”

Noah has been the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central since 2015 and has released 11 comedy specials that he wrote, produced, and starred in, including his most recent, “Son of Patricia,” which is available on Netflix. 

He presented in 2019 at Princeton on technology’s role in society, as well as in 2017 on race and identity in the United States. 


He is also the founder of the Trevor Noah Foundation, which works in providing quality education to South African students. 

Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” was published in 2016 and describes Noah’s childhood through the end of apartheid and the years following. 

Noah, as Class Day speaker, will be inducted as an honorary member of the Class of 2021. 

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated on April 15 to indicate Parish’s involvement in the Class Day Speaker selection process.

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