Shields had already starred in films like "Blue Lagoon" and "Endless Love" when she arrived at Princeton. She graduated as a French major with honors in 1987.
Speakers at other Class Day ceremonies in recent years have included comedian Stephen Colbert, former President Bill Clinton and news anchor Katie Couric.
Shields was invited by the school's graduating class to speak at the May 30 event.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will speak at the May 29 baccalaureate.
Princeton's commencement speaker is always the university president, except when the sitting U.S. president agrees to give that address.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.