UW News

April 23, 2024

Daniel James Brown to address UW’s Class of 2024

UW News

man at podium

Daniel James Brown, the author of “Boys in the Boat,” will deliver the 2024 Commencement address at Husky Stadium on Saturday, June 8.Dennis Wise/University of Washington

Daniel James Brown, the author of “Boys in the Boat,” the story of the 1936 University of Washington men’s rowing team, will deliver the 2024 Commencement address for the 149th ceremony, which takes place June 8 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.

The feature film based on Brown’s 2014 bestseller, “Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics,” was released late last year, propelling the story of grit, determination and community support to global audiences.

“In telling the story of ’The Boys in Boat,’ Dan has brought a treasured piece of Pacific Northwest and UW history to life and inspired people all over the world,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “We are honored to have him to be a part of this very special day in the lives of our graduates and their families.”


2024 Commencement Information

UW’s 149th Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, June 8 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. UW Bothell’s graduation is scheduled for Sunday, June 9 at T-Mobile Park. The Commencement ceremony for UW Tacoma is scheduled for Friday, June 7 at the Tacoma Dome.


Brown will receive an honorary degree for his impact on scholarship in the humanities. The UW will also recognize MIT atmospheric chemist Susan Solomon at Commencement for her pioneering research on ozone depletion and the chemistry of the stratosphere.

Brown’s books focus on pivotal moments in history that have often been overlooked. He told the story of Japanese American heroes of World War II in “Facing the Mountain.” In “The Indifferent Stars Above,” he chronicled a Donner party bride’s 32-day trek through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. And in the pages of “Under the Flaming Sky,” he revealed the social, economic and environmental causes of the Great Hinkley Firestorm of 1894. “Boys in the Boat,” the tale of the Depression-era crew team that overcame seemingly impossible obstacles and stunned the world by winning Gold at the Berlin Olympics, has been translated into more than a dozen languages and is the recipient of a number of awards including the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

“As an ardent, life-long supporter of public education — particularly higher education — I’m profoundly grateful to the University of Washington for bestowing this honor on me,” Brown said. “The upcoming commencement ceremony is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to express my gratitude to the university for all that it does to cultivate the arts and humane values in our community and the wider world.”

Brown earned a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley, and a master of arts from UCLA. He’s taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford University and continues to write from his home near Seattle.