As colleges and universities continue to search for innovative and engaging ways to captivate their audiences, celebrity speakers have become an increasingly popular choice.
From actors and musicians to entrepreneurs and activists, these celebrity speakers bring a unique blend of knowledge, insight, and inspiration to their presentations. With a range of backgrounds and experiences, they are sure to leave a lasting impact on college audiences.
So, whether you’re looking to bring star power to your campus, bring attention to a particular cause, or simply inspire your students, read on for our comprehensive guide to the Top Celebrity Speakers for Colleges in 2023. Get ready to be entertained, educated, and inspired!
Ke Huy Quan: Oscar-Winning Actor
Ke Huy Quan is a Vietnamese-American actor and stunt choreographer. After an almost 20-year hiatus from his last role, Quan returned to acting in 2021 in the critically acclaimed science fiction comedy-drama film Everything Everywhere All At Once. His performance garnered critical acclaim and won him many accolades, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Quan is one of two actors of Asian descent to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Originally, the world knew him as a child actor, appearing in beloved films such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as Short Round and The Goonies as Data.
Steve Burns: Emmy-Nominated Actor & Host, Blues Clues
Steve Burns is an actor and television host best known as the original host of the long-running children’s preschool television program, Blue’s Clues. The series was rebooted as Blue’s Clues and You, with Burns serving as frequent writer, director, and producer. As a speaker, Burns refines and re-examines the message of empowerment and exceptionalism he delivered to a generation of children as they now struggle with the demands and realities of adulting.
Lauren Ridloff: Actress & First Deaf Superhero on Marvel’s “The Eternals”
Lauren Ridloff began her meteoric rise as an actor just five years ago. Prior to that, she won the title of Miss Deaf America and was a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan for a decade. After leaving that job to take care of her two young children, she was hired in 2016 to tutor director Kenny Leon in American Sign Language as he readied the Broadway revival of Children of A Lesser God. After working together for months, Kenny and the producers concluded that Ridloff was the ideal and only choice for the lead. She pulled it off with resounding success, including multiple rave reviews from the New York Times and a Tony nomination. She soon became a series regular on the longrunning AMC series, “The Walking Dead.” She then became the first Deaf superhero opposite Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani in Marvel’s worldwide hit, Eternals. Ridloff received a 2020 BAFTA Breakthrough award recognizing the most promising stars of film and television. She divides her time between Atlanta and Brooklyn.
Metro Boomin: Producer & Go-To Collaborator for Rap Stars like Future, Wiz Khalifa and Migos
Metro Boomin has been one of the most in-demand producers in hip-hop since he was 19 years old. Working with the likes of Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Future, Migos, Young Thug, and more, there is nobody more trusted by the hip-hop elite. But it doesn’t stop there. Metro wants to share his story and message of his life beyond the beat. As CEO of his own label and creator of his own clothing line, Metro can speak with students about his rise as an entrepreneur.
Daymond John: Founder & CEO of FUBU, Star of ABC’s Shark Tank
From humble beginnings to a self-made multimillionaire with over $6 billion to date in global product sales and a starring role on ABC’s business reality TV show, Shark Tank. As “The People’s Shark”, Daymond continues to set standards of excellence while expanding his interests in fashion, branding, marketing, consulting, entertainment, and beyond.
Killer Mike: Rapper, Civic Leader & Activist
Killer Mike is a Grammy award-winning rapper and actor who is making waves in the political arena for his gripping commentary on ongoing social issues confronting America.
Laurie Hernandez: Keynote Speaker: Olympic Gold Medal Winning U.S. Gymnast & Winner of Season 23 of “Dancing With The Stars”
Since bringing home the Gold and Silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Laurie has gone on to win the coveted Mirror ball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars” Season 23 and has had two New York Times Best Sellers. She is a second generation American, as her grandparents are from Puerto Rico, making her the first U.S. born Latina to make the U.S. team since 1984. Laurie was also the gymnastics analyst for Peacock and the Olympic Channel for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Acting is one of her biggest passions and she has done cameos, voiceovers, and hosting. Laurie is currently attending New York University where she is a theater major.
Brittany Broski: Influencer & Comedian
Brittany Broski took the internet by storm with her wit, charm, and of course, distaste for kombucha. Brittany’s rise to fame has truly captured the new influencer frontiers of TikTok, with nearly 8 million followers across her TikTok accounts, Brittany is currently one of the most viral people on the internet. Her social platforms continue to grow exponentially as more fans get hooked on her hilarious and relatable content.
Hasan Piker: Political Commentator, Journalist, Activist & Producer
Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Hasan Piker is an American journalist, producer, activist, and political commentator, best known as the creator behind “The Breakdown” for The Young Turks on Facebook. “The Breakdown” showcases Hasan’s expertise in breaking down Republican propaganda, corruption, and hypocrisies of US politics. Hasan’s most viral segments have garnered 20+ million views with a strong age demographic of followers under the age of 30, positioning him as a voice of a generation. Hasan has worked with organizations such as Muslims For Progressive Values, March For Our Lives, Black Lives Matter. His activism is rooted in social and economic justice, LGBTQ+ rights, Muslim rights, intersectional feminism, gun control, pro-peace initiatives, and sustainable energy initiatives.
Jennette Mccurdy: Director, Host of “Empty Inside” Podcast, Former Actress & Author of “I’m Glad My Mom Died”
Jennette McCurdy is an actress and bestselling author known for starring in two of Nickelodeon’s biggest shows, iCarly and the spinoff Sam & Cat. Jennette’s #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, uses candor and dark humor to dive into her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother. She also created a comedic one-woman show, I’m Glad My Mom Died, which she wrote, directed, and starred in and had a sold-out run at Lyric Hyperion Theatre. Jennette is currently developing a feature film, which she wrote and will direct, and has recently closed a deal to write her debut fiction novel. Jennette has been honored as part of the 2022 TIME100 Next list, a compilation of emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership. She has also been published in the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal and hosts a popular podcast, Empty Inside, where she speaks with guests about uncomfortable topics.
Kyle Gordon: Comedian, Actor, Writer & Improviser
Kyle is a New York based comedian, actor, writer and improviser. He has recently emerged as one of the most popular comedians on Social Media, with over 3 million followers and almost a billion views across Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. When not creating comedy online, he can also be found performing to sold out crowds across the country. In addition to regular shows around his home of New York City, in Spring 2022 he completed a multi city, major market solo headlining tour. His work has been featured on Comedy Central and Adult Swim, as well as Fast Company, Insider, Buzzfeed, Sports Illustrated, Time Out New York and many more. He has been a featured performer at New York Comedy Festival, Red Clay Comedy Festival, Boston Comedy Arts Festival, New York Comic-Con and San Francisco Sketchfest. He has fun every day.
Megan Rapinoe: Two-time World Cup Champion and co-captain of the US Women’s National Soccer Team
Two-time World Cup Champion and co-captain of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, Megan Rapinoe is a fan favorite and one of the team’s most technical players. A vocal leader on and off the pitch, Megan helped lead the USWNT to the 2019 Women’s World Cup Championship scoring some of the biggest goals of the tournament. Megan took home the tournament’s two top honors – the Golden Boot for top scorer, and the Golden Ball for the best player in the tournament. Megan is an advocate for equality for all, and has been able to intersect her passion for humanity and authenticity.
Please Don’t Destroy: Comedy Trio
Please Don’t Destroy is a New York-based comedy trio consisting of Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy. They are currently writing and making videos for Saturday Night Live. Please Don’t Destroy has performed their live sketch shows at festivals and colleges across the country.
Meg Stalter: Actress, Comedian & Writer
Originally from the Chicago comedy scene, Megan has been called “an oasis of invigorating silliness in feeds dominated by wearying tragedy” by The New York Times and “a soothing comedy balm for a scathing grease fire of a year” by Harper’s Bazaar. Her breakout role is in the HBO Max series Hacks. Megan was listed by both Vulture and Variety as a “2020 Comic to Watch.” Her satirical, often surrealist work has been described as ‘essential escapist comedy,’ and The New York Times’ Jason Zinoman described her as ‘the most vital voice to emerge during this anxious, isolating moment.’ Meg can next be seen as the lead in Hannah Pearl Utt’s indie feature Cora Bora, and a guest star on Peacock’s Queer As Folk.
Sarah Sherman: Comedian, Actress & Screenwriter
Sarah Sherman aka Sarah Squirm is currently a featured player on Saturday Night Live. Outside of the show, she is known for her unconventional and popular live show, Helltrap Nightmare. She was chosen to be a New Face at the 2021 Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. Sarah opened for Eric Andre’s national tour and wrote on The Eric Andre Show. She staffed on the Adult Swim series Three Busy Debras and Netflix’s Magic for Humans. She was previously named one of Vulture’s Comics to Watch for 2018 and one of TIME OUT Magazine’s Five Comics to Watch for 2017. Sarah recently wrote, directed, and starred in Sarah Vaccine, a short that Paper Mag described as a “maniacal, gross-out and overwhelming response to [our] lockdown hell.”
James Austin Johnson: Comedian & Actor on ‘Saturday Night Live’
James Austin Johnson is an American comedian and actor originally from Nashville, Tennessee. He has garnered attention for his impression of former President Donald Trump, sometimes being referred to as “the best Trump impersonator.” In addition to the films like Blue Like Jazz and Hail, Caesar!, Johnson has appeared in the television series “Adam Ruins Everything,” “Better Call Saul,” and “All Rise.” He has also filmed a DirecTV television ad with National Football League veteran Peyton Manning. In 2021, Johnson was cast as a featured player on “Saturday Night Live,” alongside fellow newcomers ARistotle Athari and Sarah Sherman, for its forty-seventh season. During the season premiere cold open, he portrayed President Joe Biden.