Quinta Brunson named 2023 Commencement speaker

March 14, 2023
A headshot of Philadelphia native Quinta Brunson. The Emmy award-winning actress/writer/producer/comedian will deliver this year’s keynote address at the 2023 Penn GSE Commencement ceremony.

Philadelphia native Quinta Brunson will deliver the keynote address at the 2023 Penn GSE Commencement ceremony. The Emmy award-winning actress/writer/producer/comedian is known for her hit ABC comedy Abbott Elementary, which she created, executive produces, and stars in. The series takes place in a fictional Philadelphia public elementary school and highlights the challenges and joys of being a public school teacher in an under-resourced school. The show draws not only on Brunson’s own experiences in the Philadelphia public schools but is also inspired by her mother’s career as a kindergarten teacher in West Philadelphia. In 2022, Brunson was named by Time magazine to its “100 Most Influential People” list as well as the Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment Power 100” list.

“We are thrilled to have Quinta Brunson as the Commencement speaker to speak to the next generation of educators,” said Pam Grossman, Dean of Penn GSE. “Brunson puts a human face on teachers and elevates the work of teaching through the characters of Janine, Barbara, and the rest of the staff at Abbott Elementary. Even though we tune in each week for 22 minutes of laughter, Brunson never fails to remind us of the serious consequences of failing to invest in our public schools and the inspiring efforts of teachers across the country.”

The Commencement ceremony for the top-ranked Penn GSE will take place Saturday, May 13. More details to follow.