University Announces Commencement Details...No Speaker

Submitted by Morto on March 27th, 2017 at 6:42 PM…

Earlier today, the University announced details for the upcoming Spring Commencement. There are a few nice attributes to the plan; but the glaring omission is that there will be no major speaker.

As a graduating senior, I have to say that I'm incredibly disappointed with this decision. I know it's the University's 200th birthday and we should celebrate that occasion; but, the vast majority of seniors disapprove of this plan and to see the administration move forward with it anyway feels like a slap to the face. Past graduating classes have gotten Presidents, CEOs, and other important leaders to our country. We get faculty and a video.

I know this is a sports blog and if I'm out of place, downvote away. I just needed to vent a bit and figured a few other Wolverines might be able to relate.



March 27th, 2017 at 7:21 PM ^

Sometimes the main commencement speaker is not very interesting.  I don't recall the name of the speaker I heard for the main ceremony (for which everyone was sitting in a freezing Big House that was nearly half ripped apart for the upcoming expansion), but he was "the man who invented spellcheck" - I could look it up but I'm not inclined to do so.

However, the engineering ceremony had Larry Page, which was much more interesting (and warmer, being in Crisler).

Bando Calrissian

March 27th, 2017 at 7:25 PM ^

My sister graduated that year. He was the former Head Engineer at Xerox or something. 

But then they gave Bo an honorary degree, he got up, went to the mic, and dropped the most Michigan of speeches. It was great. And no one remembered the total snoozefest of a keynote. 


March 27th, 2017 at 6:51 PM ^

Bo received an honorary doctorate and spoke at mine... only reason I went to the big house commencement. Sorry to further shit on your situation.


March 27th, 2017 at 6:52 PM ^

Dr. Leslie Hollingsworth gave an incredible keynote speech at my graduation. One I still remember today. It's a pretty big letdown to not have someone come out for this huge event in the school's bicentennial year. If I were a graduating senior, I would be pretty disappointed and would actually feel quite slighted.


March 27th, 2017 at 6:59 PM ^

My opinion is that this is not a big deal.  I can't even remember my commencement speaker. I definitely don't remember what he or she said.  I don't remember ever discussing commencement speakers with others around my age either.

I mean, it is nice for a school to get a cool speaker.  But, it is similar to having our school logo prominently displayed in an Rocket Mortgage commercial about college sports.  Barely worht a mention most of the time.

I wouldn't worry about it.


March 27th, 2017 at 7:26 PM ^

I ask because I'm in the same boat as the point of view above. Looking back, I can't remember by undergrad speaker in my specialty or the stadium nor do I remember who was there when I did my MBA (either for MBA commencement or the undergrad at the stadium).

While I can see why this seems like a big deal to students (probably would have felt that way for me too the first time around), from my perspective with quite a few years in the rearview mirror, it wasn't a big deal.

Duke of Zhou

March 27th, 2017 at 7:02 PM ^

Former President Bill Clinton spoke at my graduation, though I didn't attend.  The current first lady at the time, Hillary Clinton, spoke at my mother's graduation, which I did attend.  I don't think it's that big of a deal, but I didn't attach much significance to the ceremony in the first place.


March 27th, 2017 at 7:06 PM ^

I assumed for the 200 year anniversary Michigan would get some big time speaker like the president/past president, or some big time person with a relation to the university like Munger or Ross. I think this is a terrible decision to not have a speaker. 


March 27th, 2017 at 7:06 PM ^

maybe they dont want to deal with the hassle?  pretty good odds most potential speakers would be met with disapproval by near 50%, its prob tough to find universally approved speakers, especially now.  given current climate, im not surprised.  an amazing day for all involved without dealing with protests, etc doesnt sound like a bad idea


March 27th, 2017 at 7:13 PM ^

Wow this seems, odd.

Congrats to all this years graduates. The real world is a letdown compared to the past 4 years in Ann Arbor I'll tell you that!

Michigan Arrogance

March 27th, 2017 at 7:15 PM ^

sounds to me like the U's plans fell through and they couldn't get their top choice(s). I doubt the current POTUS was ever considered. Plus, he's already speaking at Liberty "U", so maybe his quota is fulfilled re: commencement speeches this year.

Bando Calrissian

March 27th, 2017 at 7:20 PM ^

Oh, children... "We're not getting a cool commencement speaker! We got screwed!"

How about having to take time to go to a bunch of town hall meetings and write endless letters and emails to explain to the administration why having your commencement at Rynearson Stadium instead of somewhere actually in Ann Arbor was a total loser plan? Because that's what a lot of us had to do a few years back. You're getting the stadium. Count your blessings.

This is a historic moment. They're doing something different, instead of bringing in a high-profile speaker with (likely) no connection to Michigan to pick up an honorary degree and talk in empty platitudes about you entering the "real world." At the end of the day, it's a usually forgettable 20 minute speech at the end of 4 (or more) years of school--what's important is the place, being with your friends, enjoying the moment, and getting your family/friends to take you to a really nice dinner when it's over.

EDIT: And you're getting a performance from the two alums who wrote the music for La La Land. They obviously don't care about giving you a cool commencement. 


March 27th, 2017 at 7:20 PM ^

we had a real nothingburger speaker for my Michigan graduation, and my speaker for North Carolina graduation was Bill Cosby. So don't feel too badly for yourself. Congrats on graduating though, go blue.


March 27th, 2017 at 7:24 PM ^

Have they explicitly stated that there will be no commencement speaker, or just declined to discuss it in the release? I read what was linked in the OP and it didn't say anything about a speaker at all. 


March 27th, 2017 at 7:30 PM ^

Michigan isn't going to blow commencement for the bicentennial. Go in with a much better attitude and enjoy yourself. Graduation is a blast. It's to be with family and friends. Just enjoy yourself. Michigan will come through. They've done this once or twice.


March 27th, 2017 at 7:36 PM ^

big house.  we had some president/CEO of renault for the b-school.  cronkite was disappointing.  not bad, just not great.   no recollection of the renault guy.  so maybe the speaker isn't that big of a deal? 


March 27th, 2017 at 7:42 PM ^

Sucks for the seniors this year.

When I graduated (Ph.D.) in spring 2013, I hesitated about going to the Big House the day after the Rackham Exercises, as the majority of graduate students probably don't attend the big one. I did go, eventually, with the wife and mom also in attendance. The commencement speech was given by Dick Costolo who was the CEO of Twitter at the time. That was one of the best commencement speeches one could ever heard. And four years later, while the idealism and optimism in me might have worn out a little bit, I still remember what Costolo said that day: "Be Bold. Make courageous choices. Be in this moment."



March 27th, 2017 at 7:44 PM ^

The students should petition Coach Harbaugh to be the commencement speaker.  There are few people who embody Michigan more, and he's an entertaining and very inspiring speaker.

How am I the first person to suggest this here?