Urban reformer Cory A. Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., will be the speaker as 554 students graduate from the Law School during commencement exercises at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 23, at the Bank of America Pavilion on Boston’s waterfront.

Booker, an attorney and Rhodes Scholar, was elected mayor of Newark at age 37, promising change in a city that had long struggled with crime, unemployment, and corruption. Under his leadership, Newark has led the nation in crime reduction. Booker has invested in public parks and playgrounds and doubled affordable housing to further improve the quality of life in his adopted city.

His sometimes-unorthodox approach to engaging with Newark’s challenges has seen him living in a crumbling public housing project for eight years and frequenting street corners notorious for drug dealing.

Subject of documentary, media profiles

Booker's first, unsuccessful, run for mayor of Newark was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Street Fight,” and he has appeared on national talk shows, including "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO.

The Newark mayor has been the commencement speaker at a number of colleges and universities, including Harvard Law School, New York University School for Continuing and Professional Studies, and Teachers College at Columbia University.

His civic efforts have been recognized in numerous publications, including Time, Esquire, the New Yorker, Black Enterprise and The New York Times Magazine.

Booker is a member of numerous boards and advisory committees, including Democrats for Education Reform, Columbia University Teachers’ College Board of Trustees and the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

He is a graduate of Stanford University, studied Modern History at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and completed his law degree at Yale University.

Suffolk University will award Booker an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.