DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Joe Keery to honor Class of 2020
By Kristin Claes Mathews /
May 7, 2020 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
“DePaul has always been proud to call Joe one of our own,” says DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D. “Joe’s participation will be meaningful to our graduates because he knows what it means to be a DePaul student. As a fan of his work on ‘Stranger Things,’ I am excited for him to join us in celebrating the Class of 2020.”
Greeting grads via video, Keery will welcome an estimated 6,250 new graduates into the fold, on behalf of the 190,000 DePaul alumni living throughout the world.
Just a few years ago, Keery graduated from DePaul and was waiting tables in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. He went on more than 100 auditions, trying out for roles in plays, theatre and commercials before he got his first major television role as Steve Harrington on “Stranger Things.”
It turned out to be his big break. Now in production on its fourth season, “Stranger Things” was watched by 64 million households in a single month last summer, according to Netflix. On the show, Keery plays a 1980s high school heartthrob who grapples with monsters from a parallel universe, as well as big teenage emotions, ego and hair. In 2017, the Screen Actors Guild recognized the cast with the Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. In 2018 the series was named TV Program of the Year by the American Film Institute.
Keery also has appeared on the FOX’s Golden Globe nominated series “Empire” and had a recurring role on NBC’s “Chicago Fire.” He has previously appeared in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut “Molly’s Game,” opposite Jessica Chastain; and the comedy horror “Slice” starring Chance the Rapper. He will next be seen in the action-adventure comedy “Free Guy” opposite Ryan Reynolds, and is slated to star in the upcoming drama “Spree,” which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Students at DePaul will have the chance to make their mark on this year’s commencement ceremonies. Every graduate will be featured on a digital slide, which they can personalize with a photo and message. Each school or college will have its own dedicated ceremony, featuring Esteban, a student speaker and the dean from each college or school, as well as other inspirational messages from the DePaul community. For additional information about DePaul’s commencement, visit