Anna Chlumsky, AB’02, named UChicago’s 2024 Class Day speaker

Actor to address College students on May 31, kicking off Convocation weekend


Editor’s Note: Anna Chlumsky is unable to travel to Chicago on May 31 due to an unforeseen change in her production schedule. She has instead recorded a greeting that will be played as part of Class Day festivities. Heidi Heitkamp, former United States Senator and director of UChicago’s Institute of Politics, has been added to the program to address the Class of 2024.

Renowned actor Anna Chlumsky, AB’02, has been announced as the 2024 Class Day speaker for the University of Chicago’s Class Day ceremony on May 31.

“It’s an absolute honor,” Chlumsky said of speaking at Class Day. “How could it be anything else? My time at UChicago was everything to me, so I’m surprised and grateful to be considered qualified in any way to speak to our graduates.”

Chlumsky’s career spans theater, film and television. She is best known for her role as Amy Brookheimer in the popular HBO series “Veep,” for which she received multiple Emmy nominations, as well as her role in “Inventing Anna,” one of the most-watched miniseries on Netflix.

She said her experience at the University of Chicago, from which she graduated with a bachelor’s in international studies, not only broadened her intellectual horizons, but also shaped her approach as an actor. 

As a rising fourth-year student, she studied abroad in Brazil, intending to write her thesis on Latin American democracies. She eventually switched topics to focus on nationalism and the global threat environment that fall, while also attending UChicago’s Program on International Security Policy. 

Chlumsky often credits her academic experience in international politics as the reason she felt so confident in her audition for Armando Iannucci’s 2009 film “In the Loop” as a State Department employee—a job that changed her career forever by paving the way for her role in “Veep.”

“I learned to hone a powerful mind for research, to delve into in-depth topics, and to relentlessly ask the questions that matter to me,” she said. “Those skills have been invaluable for me in my work as an actress and storyteller. They’re what make me care about the roles I play and fuel my passion for making good theater, film and television as media for exploring the human condition.”

She said she has fond memories of meeting lifelong friends in Maclean House, and exploring the hidden passageways between Cobb and Goodspeed Halls with them “like we were in some sort of heist.” Chlumsky also met her husband, Shaun So, AB’03, while they danced on the Quads together during the Summer Breeze music festival. 

She said her message to the Class of 2024 will likely focus on the importance of authenticity and self-awareness. 

“Go with your gut and be yourself,” she advised. “I know it sounds like a lot of pressure – just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy. But being yourself and knowing yourself are different tasks.”

Chlumsky joins a list of distinguished alumni who have served as Class Day speakers, including U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, AB’04; Rebecca Jarvis, AB’03, award-winning journalist and podcast host; Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama; David Brooks, AB’83, columnist for the New York Times; and Otis W. Brawley, SB’81, distinguished cancer researcher.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. on the Main Quadrangles. Please visit the Class Day page for the latest information about the ceremony.