Eventful Yale commencement includes protest, interruption

Stevie Wonder received an honorary Doctor of Music degree at the Yale University Commencement in New Haven, Conn., on Monday, May 22, 2017. Behind him is his son, Kwame Morris. (Arnold Gold/New Haven Register via AP)

Graduation day at Yale included the awarding of degrees, a union demonstration and an impromptu speech by a man who was later tackled

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — An eventful graduation day at Yale University on Monday featured the awarding of degrees, dancing from Stevie Wonder, a union demonstration and a man who unexpectedly took the podium and was tackled.

Yale conferred more than 3,600 degrees, including eight honorary doctorates. The recipients of the honorary degrees included civil rights leader John Lewis, former Secretary of State John Kerry and musician Stevie Wonder.

Lewis, a Democratic Georgia congressman who was criticized by then-President-elect Donald Trump in a January tweet as "all talk," received a rousing ovation when he was introduced by Yale President Peter Salovey as a man with "a lifetime of bold action and inspiring results."

"From the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to the halls of the U.S. Congress, you have been the conscience of our nation, guiding us on the unfinished march toward equality, civil rights and human dignity," Salovey said.

Wonder danced and sang along as the Yale University Concert Band played his hit "I Wish." He received an honorary doctorate of music from Salovey, who used Wonder's own lyrics to tell him the degree was "signed, sealed, delivered, it's yours."

The commencement was interrupted briefly when an unidentified man ran onto the stage during chaplain Sharon Kuglar's invocation and grabbed the microphone. He was able to get out a few words about loving Yale before being tackled by security.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said the man, who was taken into custody, is known to police and isn't believed to be part of any protest group.

More than 1,000 people marched across campus before the ceremony to demand the Ivy League school begin negotiations with a union that was formed by graduate students after the National Labor Relations Board lifted a ban on organizing teachers' assistants and researchers at private universities.

The school is appealing a ruling that allowed the union to set up microunits in eight Yale departments, arguing that that type of organization effort denied the majority of doctoral students the right to cast a ballot.

The protesters gathered near the gates to Old Campus and cheered as the graduates walked past on their way to the outdoor ceremony.

Related News

Is NBC's prime-time Olympics due for a change?

Aug 12, 2016

For all the changes media and even Olympics coverage, NBC sticks to a time-honored formula for its...

After storm halts tribute, A-Rod doubles in...

Aug 13, 2016

His pregame tribute ended by a storm, Alex Rodriguez began his final game with the New York Yankees...

Nephew in 'Making a Murderer' has conviction...

Aug 13, 2016

A judge has overturned the conviction of a Wisconsin man found guilty of helping his uncle kill a...

At 93, legendary climber Fred Beckey still...

Aug 13, 2016

Legendary Seattle climber Fred Beckey is the focus of a new documentary film about his life

A-Rod released by Yankees, who owe him $27...

Aug 13, 2016

Alex Rodriguez has been unconditionally released by the New York Yankees, ending his 12 years in...

Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 in 'Star Wars,'...

Aug 13, 2016

Kenny Baker, the 3-foot 8-inch (1.1 meter) actor who played R2-D2 in the "Star Wars" films, has died

You may also like these

Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 in 'Star Wars,'...

Aug 13, 2016

Kenny Baker, the 3-foot 8-inch (1.1 meter) actor who played R2-D2 in the "Star Wars" films, has died

Trial date set for ex-Patriots star Hernandez in...

Aug 16, 2016

A judge has set a trial date in February for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in...

NBC chairman blasts Trump in private Facebook post

Aug 16, 2016

The chairman of NBC Entertainment is slamming Donald Trump, the network's onetime "Apprentice" star

As floodwaters recede, disbelief mixes with...

Aug 17, 2016

The smell of muddy water hung heavy in the air as people began sorting through waterlogged...

'Mr. Robot' mobile game launches as phony...

Aug 17, 2016

A fake messaging app inspired by the USA Network hacker 'Mr. Robot' was released Tuesday for mobile...

Financial Markets