Who was your Commencement Speaker?

Submitted by M-Wolverine on February 12th, 2010 at 12:41 PM

And how was it?

There was some mention of this in the Obama threads, and I found it interesting, and here we can get more in depth, and not wade through (as much) of the political nonsense.

Having said that...

My speaker was Hillary Clinton. I can't say it was particularly memorable, and I can't remember what she said. But I was glad at the time to have someone famous and a big name (and not someone who wrote a comic strip...I felt for my friends). It would have been cooler if they hadn't trumped it with Presidents over the next decade or so. I more remember how my cousin scheduled his wedding the same day, and I had to fly to St. Louis right after the ceremony.

The only other one I've seen was my brother's, with Lee Bollinger. And I remember the POURING rain. And Lee going on...and on...and on....as we're all soaking.

How about you?



February 12th, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^

Mine too. In case you didn't know, we graduated with Dick Enberg's daughter. I saw him walking to the commencement (he passed by the house we were at on State and Hoover) and he asked him if he wanted to share our keg with us. He said no, that his daughter who was graduating would get mad.


February 12th, 2010 at 2:50 PM ^

But I have to say, I thought he was a helluva journalist and I love a lot of his books.

Re: Granholm. I hear what you're saying re: her point. She made her point, and the "losers" line was totally fair. But my real issue was her fairly theatrical performance of the whole thing, you know? Maybe petty, but it felt very phony.


February 12th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

I agree. She wasn't mine, but I was there for my wife. We still talk about how Granholm said something like "some of you will fail." Not really what you should be telling people at commencement.

Mine was David E. Davis, Jr. the next year. No one knew who he was (he was a racecar driver and founded one of the auto magazines) and a lot of people were pissed. But he gave a great speech and was pretty damn funny. I still remember some of the advice he gave.

Feat of Clay

February 12th, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

I was at a professional conference in Nashville and the plenary speaker was Sarah Cannon, who played Minnie Pearl on "Hee-Haw" and and the Grand Ol' Opry. You know, the ol' bat with a price tag hanging off of her straw hat. We all rolled our eyes when we saw the program. I mean, come on.

That lady hit it out of the park. She had a lot of words of wisdom, and her years of performance meant she had superb timing for comedy and dramatic effect.

03 Blue 07

February 12th, 2010 at 2:32 PM ^

I was there- that was my commencement. She said "some of you will go on to do wonderful things, xyz, this is where it all started," etc. She said "I know a lot of wonderful, amazing, blah blah" people who went to U of M. Winners. But there are also losers who went to the University of Michigan.

There was an audible gasp in the crowd when she said that. She rebounded to make her point- that we shouldn't take anything for granted, and should realize that the future is only what you make of it, and don't get too high on yourselves, 22-year-olds, because now real life starts, etc. But yeah- that "losers" line is what everyone remembered. Overall, I think a lot of people couldn't get past that line and didn't like the speech because of it. It's a good lesson in how the choice of a single word can really screw up an entire speech/presentation.


February 12th, 2010 at 1:21 PM ^

Same class as MGoPacquiao. It's funny because the Michigan Daily wrote an article basically saying "Who is this guy? This is a lame commencement speaker" (which, in fairness, is what we were all pretty much thinking). At the start of his speak he read part of the article and asked the author to stand up and big recognized. Pretty good speech, funny and interesting, but I still would have preferred someone "bigger name".


February 12th, 2010 at 12:50 PM ^

Speech was ok...started off by commenting on how she was glad we welcomed her by making the big house look like a war zone (during bleacher replacement)


February 12th, 2010 at 12:50 PM ^

I was required to attend each commencement ceremony. My speaker was forgettable, but the best one I saw was Leonard Elmore, who wrote "Get Shorty," "Be Cool," and "Out of Sight," among other things.


February 12th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

Thanks for the tangent about Out of Sight - part of it was shot at a house behind the house where I grew up. They also filmed a scene with guys (Clooney and Cheadle?) sitting in a car - you can see my old backyard where I used to pretend to be Rick Leach.


February 12th, 2010 at 2:51 PM ^

One of my HS buddies lived across the street from that house, too, on Kensington, and I was at his place a few nights during the late night shoots. The lighting completely lit up virtually every back yard on the street, it was nuts.


February 12th, 2010 at 2:59 PM ^

I remember my parents being a little put off by all the film trucks but they didn't say anything about the lights. I was living in Chicago at the time. The house they filmed at was actually on Surria Court (a private road that comes off Kensington). It was owned at that time by the CEO of Excide Batteries - he later served time in jail....could be another Elmore Leonard novel.


February 12th, 2010 at 2:18 PM ^

I can't believe I messed that up. I even paused for a minute before I wrote it, but then I wrote it wrong, anyway. My friend's dad is named Leonard Elmore, which I always thought was funny, so that's the name I always want to use.

Elmore Leonard.

Elmore Leonard.

Elmore Leonard.


February 12th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

The U President thing is always a bit lame, because you already have had them around. Probably heard them in some form before. But you didn't even get one of the good Presidents.

And is there some connection...the worse the speaker, the worse the weather? I'm betting those that get Obama are going to get a tan. (Again, no political commentary....just believe any President of the USA, sitting or not, is a pretty good catch).

Feat of Clay

February 12th, 2010 at 12:55 PM ^

I didn't go to my masters graduation, but for PhD it was Joe Schwarz. I think I might have been the only person in Crisler truly geeked about it (Winter graduation, obviously).

He was a state senator, and a good state senator, and contemplated a run for governor. A U-M medical school grad and a pretty good friend to the U up in Lansing.

I was always impressed by him as a senator but IIRC his speech wasn't that great. Content was fine, but there's a certain cadence that good speakers adopt when speaking to a crowd, and he just didn't have it.