U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will deliver the University of New England’s commencement address in May, the university announced Monday.

Sanders, an independent from Vermont who ran for president in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries, is in his third term in the Senate.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in  Washington, D.C., in June 2023. Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press, file

He will speak at the graduation ceremony scheduled to take place at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland at 10 a.m. on May 18.

“Sen. Sanders is an important part of the American political landscape,” UNE President James Herbert said in a statement. “He is a tireless advocate for expanding health care access, especially to underserved populations. As Maine’s only medical school with a deep commitment to that very cause, we are honored to have him as our commencement speaker this year.”

Sanders was last re-elected to the Senate in 2018 and is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history.

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