President Barack Obama addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference at the Washington Convention Center March 4, 2012 in Washington, DC

*President Barack Obama has supplanted New York Times editor Jill Abramson as Barnard College’s commencement speaker this year, the school announced on its website.

“This is an extraordinary honor for Barnard and we are thrilled to welcome President Obama for this important moment in the lives of our graduates and their families,” Barnard President Deborah L. Spar said in a statement. “His commitment to empowering women is so meaningful to our students, who aspire to lead and make their mark on the world. No doubt, the President’s words will make this year’s Commencement truly unforgettable.”

Obama attended Columbia University, which is affiliated with Barnard – one of the nation’s premiere all-female schools – and located across the street. After graduating in 1983, he went on to Harvard Law School.

Past speakers include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actress Meryl Streep and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Abramson, who took over the top post of the Times last September, had been slated to speak at Barnard’s Morningside Heights campus in Manhattan. Barnard’s statement says that Abramson “has noted that she is happy to speak at Barnard at a later date.”