OT Sanjay Gupta Spring Commencement Speaker

Submitted by gajensen on March 12th, 2012 at 10:58 AM


The guy grew up in Novi, went to Michigan for undergrad and medical school, and got to warm up for the Big House speech with his 2009 address to the UMich medical school graduates.  He was also pegged to be the Surgeon General by my commencement speaker, Barack Obama, before declining due to family considerations.




March 12th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

The graduates in my class got absolutely screwed.  No offense to Mr. Bollinger but I wouldn't sit through 5 minutes of him speaking even if he paid me.  EVen if he's not a great speaker, Dr. Sanja blows Bollinger out of the water.



March 12th, 2012 at 5:44 PM ^

Granholm was definitely kissing up to the POTUS in an attempt to curry favor for a Supreme Court Justice position in 2010.

She did, however, come to a Student Dems rally in the Union in 2008 and did a wonderful job speaking and pumping up the students.


March 12th, 2012 at 11:16 AM ^

If anything that speaks to the immaturity of the "graduates". Strangely, there are people who have different views out there and sometimes (oh heavens!) you have to listen to them. Trying to not get political, but there have been well known political speakers from every stripe and those students simply embarrassed themselves and Michigan. Maybe they could have used another civics class before they graduated.


March 12th, 2012 at 11:28 AM ^

My year, '91, was pretty bad. We had George Bush The Elder, who gave a speech based on "The Great Society" which was not even remotely relevant to anybody sitting in the audience. Then right afterward he had a heart attack and went to Bethesda Naval Hospital for treatment. All his speech did was basically give the student protesters a last chance to be obnoxious, which wasn't terribly impressive either. This was especially frustrating since the rumor going around was that we could've had James Earl Jones, which would've been cool. I mean, who would've cared what he said? Just the voice! [Insert deep voice] This Is U of M {instead of CNN}

Mitch Cumstein

March 12th, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

I think in general, national political speakers with little or no ties to UM are bad speakers.  The political profile of the person makes it so ~50% of the audience doesn't really want to hear the speach, and the immature of those 50% will do something to embarrass themselves and the school.  Also, the fact that they don't have ties to UM usually gives them the impression they can get up and use the face time for their political agenda.  I think students fall in love with the "big name" too much.  I think having a UM grad that has done something worthwhile outside of the public political sector is the way to go.

Mitch Cumstein

March 12th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

According to a couple friends in the med school at the time he gave the med commencement speech, he was a little too proud himself (if you know what I mean), but nonetheless, I think thats the kind of guy that makes for a good speaker.  Larry Page was the best I've heard.


March 12th, 2012 at 11:42 AM ^

...Jim Duderstadt and we was truly awful.  

We both had the unfortunate timing of graduating in the first year of a new president's tenure. I wonder if MSC broke the chain of crappy commencement addresses for new presidents.

Class of '03?

Beyond this, the list of other persons receiving honorary degrees is quite impressive, especially when you see how many of them are U-M alumni. Everyone (I think) knows about Chris Van Allsburg's relationship with Michigan, but I wasn't aware that Susan Orlean is an alumna. She was all the rage when Adaptation came our a few years ago. More importantly, non-alumnus, but U-M business partner and donor Richard Sarn is originally from The Clem. Who knew?


March 12th, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

...better than Granholm. Still, it's a good thing that they seem to have done away with the tradition of a new University President delivering the commencement address in his/her first year in office.

And I'll say this about Duderstadt's address. 23 years later, it seems much better in print than it did in delivery. I'll chalk up my disappointment to the follies and poor perspective of youth.

Naked Bootlegger

March 12th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

Let's not forget that Dr. Gupta ably represents Mary Markley Hall from the early 90's!!   He was a nattily-dressed Resident Director that seemed to have 26 hours of dedicated non-sleep activity per day.   I was terribly impressed with him then and am not surprised at all with his success. 

FYI...he also just published a novel in his spare time:  http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/story/2012-03-12/sanjay-gupta-m…


March 12th, 2012 at 11:22 AM ^

I can't recall the speaker's name from my commencement because I was fairly hammered, but I remember it was long and boring. He was booed more than once and also had a group stand and turn their back to him.

Cool story, eh?


March 12th, 2012 at 11:48 AM ^

Marshall D Shulman - Professor of International Studies and Advanced Study of the Soviet Union.

It's a cooler story now because I don't care how learned you are, that speaker stunk.


March 14th, 2012 at 10:04 AM ^

I graduated in 1988 as well. In addition to the HORRIBLE speaker, Jeanne Kirkpatrick was given an honorary degree. It was all a rather crazy experience, apparently. I just don't remember all these details.... but here are a couple posts on the subject. (H/T MGoUser SAvoodoo, who found these for me 2 years ago when a "who was your speaker" thread came up.)

Editorial in the NY Times:

Commentary from another 1988 grad. You have to scroll down nearly to the end, and look for 2 posts by "cheryl cassidy".





March 12th, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

...your evaluation. Now that was a man who loved A2 and U-M for all of the right reasons - that is, the city and university permitted the sort of freedom of thought and action that wasn't afforded to him while living in a police state. I especially liked his description of a democratic state: "...this halfway house between nightmare and uptopia -- which throws fewer obstacles in the way of an individual than its alternatives".



March 12th, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^

Because of a Spring Term program I decided to attend senior year, I missed Lee Iacocca with the rest of my class.  Instead, at a stifling hot August commencement in Hill Auditorium, I got a boring speech from Otis Smith, a former GM exec and Michigan Supreme Court Justice.  It was so boring, it was the last August Commencement ever.

Meanwhile, my wife got Walter Cronkite the next year. 

Here is a nice list of all of the commencement addresses at UM since 1878.  It even has links to the text of most speeches, but not any for the last 20 years.  (copyright??)



March 12th, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

For the most part, doctors are awful public speakers.

'Good' public talks by doctors almost always include gory slides to keep an audience awake.

Unless Dr. Gupta has pictures of the burr-holes he drilled to evacuate subdural hematomas in the field to earn his honorary 'Devil-Doc' status put on the Jumb-O-Tron , I predict one boring-ass speech.

And yes, I'm a doctor so I know first-hand how bad of a public speaker I can be, and I've had to endure dozens and dozens of speeches at conferences, commencements, etc. by docs.

Young John Beilein

March 12th, 2012 at 11:48 AM ^

Many academic doctors are very engaging.  Their careers are predicated upon selling their research and ideas to others.  Granted, their audience is certainly different from the general public, but not all doctors are terrible public speakers.  Clinicians, maybe.

I imagine Dr. Gupta, with all of his media exposure, has become an excellent public speaker (I don't watch real world news to actually know).  Overall, not the most exciting speaker, but he is a Michigan man, and probably someone all the pre-meds will get a chub for.


March 12th, 2012 at 11:44 AM ^

have to see him pretty frequently working for CNN, since they apparently love to have him on.  Total diva, full of himself.  He also is a total creeper, trying to hit on every woman at CNN (makeup artists, cafe lady).

Mr. Robot

March 12th, 2012 at 11:46 AM ^

Been wondering who they were going to get. Given that the previous three were Larry Page, the President, and the Governor, I can't say I was expecting much though, so in light of that, I'll take it.

At least my class won't have to deal with all the griping the last two classes did. Inviting a political figure makes the opposite side act like children, and it really showed the last two years. I don't care whether you agree with Obama or Snyder or not; they are an important figure that's taking the time to come speak at your graduation ceremony, and you should be at least respectful of that fact.

Regardless of name though, not much of anybody gives a good graduation speech. Page's wasn't that good, Obama's frankly wasn't all that great, and while I did not listen to Snyder's, I have heard it wasn't great, and having heard him speak before, I know he's only a so-so speaker (which, I imagine, is why he likes town-hall style so much).


March 12th, 2012 at 2:50 PM ^

Larry Page does have the distinction of being the only speaker to declare the nearby location of his conception during his address. (a co-op on campus where his parents met)

Edit: I'm labeled as OT in my OT thread. Hm.