BD Wong and Charlayne Woodard Named 2022 SDA Commencement Speakers

Picture of BD Wong and Charlayne Woodard

Award-winning multi-hyphenate artists BD Wong and Charlayne Woodard will deliver the charges to the 2022 graduates of the USC School of Dramatic Arts during two commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 13, at the Bing Theatre.

From his award-winning turns on the stage and screen, his work as an author, and his advocacy and support of the LGBTQ+ community, BD Wong consistently shows why he has been one of the nation’s most versatile and compassionate performers for more than three decades. Charlayne Woodard is a powerful and award-winning playwright, actress and educator whose commitment to using theatre to empower communities and create social change has been a hallmark of her career.

“We are beyond thrilled to welcome BD Wong and Charlayne Woodard as our commencement speakers for 2022,” said Emily Roxworthy, dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts. “These two dynamic artists embody the varied, prolific and sustained careers that we endeavor to prepare these graduates to achieve. And, personally, I am so grateful that they will be speaking at my first commencement as dean of this remarkable school. It truly is a celebration.”

Wong will deliver the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony, scheduled for 11 a.m. PT, and Woodard will speak at the graduate ceremony, scheduled for 3 p.m. PT. Please note, the commencement ceremonies are ticketed events and not open to the public.

Recent commencement speakers at SDA have included actor/writer/director Colman Domingo, celebrated actresses Kristen Bell and Connie Britton, actor/activist Bradley Whitford, actor/producer/philanthropist/athlete Nnamdi Asomugha, award-winning actor Michael Chiklis, contemporary American theatre pioneer Tony Taccone and actress and alumna Troian Bellisario.

Additional information about the USC School of Dramatic Arts commencement is available online at

More about BD Wong

BD Wong can be seen in more than 30 films, including Jurassic World Dominion, Bird Box, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Jurassic World, The Normal Heart, Focus, Mulan (1 & 2), The Salton Sea, Executive Decision, Seven Years in Tibet, Jurassic Park, Father of the Bride (1 & 2) and The Freshman. He received the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Theatre World, Clarence Derwent and Tony awards for his Broadway debut in M. Butterfly — an achievement not yet duplicated by another actor. Recent television appearances include Wally in Comedy Central’s Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Whiterose in Mr. Robot (Emmy and Critics Choice nominations), Prof. Hugo Strange in Gotham and Baldwin Pennypacker in American Horror Story. Other television credits include Law & Order: SVUAll-American GirlOzAnd the Band Played On, and Awake. Additional stage credits include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Pacific Overtures (Broadway), as well as The Orphan of Zhao (A.C.T., La Jolla Playhouse) and Herringbone (Williamstown Theatre Festival, McCarter Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse). He is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Following Foo: (the electronic adventures of the Chestnut Man) (Harper Entertainment). He has been honored by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian AIDS Project, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The Anti-Violence Project, Lambda Legal, Museum of Chinese in America, and Marriage Equality New York. He is a board member of The Actors Fund and Rosie’s Theater Kids. Wong is a proud San Francisco native, a graduate of Lincoln High School and holds an honorary MFA from American Conservatory Theatre.

More about Charlayne Woodard

Actress and playwright Charlayne Woodard is a two-time Obie Award winner and a Tony Award nominee. On stage, her credits include the original Broadway company of Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Tony and Drama Desk nominations). Her off-Broadway credits include Jeremy O. Harris’ Daddy (Signature Theater); Gertrude in Hamlet (Public Theater); Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War (Lincoln Center); world premieres of In The Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks (Public Theater) and Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Playwrights Horizons); Athol Fugard’s Sorrows and Rejoicings (Second Stage); and many more. Regional theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (dir. Chris Ashley); The Taming of the Shrew (dir. Rebecca Taichman); Tony Kushner’s adaptation of The Good Person of Szechwan (dir. Lisa Peterson); and Pretty Fire (dir. Michael Greif). Film audiences will remember Woodard from M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass and Unbreakable; John Sayles’ Sunshine State; Wim Wenders’ The Million Dollar Hotel, among others. Her many television credits include Pose (FX); Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story (Showtime); Oprah Winfrey’s The Wedding; Law & Order: SVU; among others. Woodard serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America. She has served on the Boards of Directors of both the Manhattan Theatre Club and La Jolla Playhouse; as well as an artistic trustee and fellow at the Sundance Institute. Woodard’s plays include Pretty Fire, Neat, In Real Life, The Night Watcher, Flight and The Garden.