Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Graduation Speeches

For the past two weekends, we have attended commencement exercises and heard fine speeches.

One of my muse's, Magistramater, recently lamented over the lack of zest in one she had to sit through. But true to her positive nature, she directed us to one worth sharing. It's Neil Postman's, readily available online with permission for others to use it!

In turn, I will highlight what we heard.

The first was at Hillsdale College where former director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, addressed the crowd on the beautiful Saturday afternoon of May 10th, under the pink dogwood tree. More here later...when I find my notes :)

The second was delivered by Bernie Marcus, the chairman of Home Depot and a host of other foundations, on Sunday, May 18th. He gave sound advice to the the Lovett graduates by relating three signficant experiences from his own life: how he handled the disappointment of not getting into medical school; how he turned the lemon of losing his job at age 49 into the lemonade called Home Depot; and the principle of giving back or helping others (actually a faith-based life-long habit modeled in his family).

There were short comments/speeches by others, including mothers, principals, chaplains, and alumni. A couple were worthy of thank-you notes and requests for copies. All this made me try to remember who spoke at my own graduations and what they said.

Since I left high school early, I did not attend my class's graduation, which was held on Sunday, May 30, 1976, at the Cathedral of St Phillip here in Atlanta. I know that Lovett's Chairman of the Board, Richard Denny, was the speaker, but do not have a copy of his address.

Thirty years ago today, I graduated from Hillsdale College and I could recall without help that Frank Shakespeare was the speaker. However, I could not remember his advice. Thanks to the internet and the College's online access to Imprimis' archive, I was able to read his speech The Uncertain World and the Eternal Truths.

Now my scrapbook will be more complete :)

Who spoke at your graduation?

What do you remember?


  1. I have no idea who spoke at my high school graduation.

    Alexander Haig spoke at my college one. I remember that his talk on foreign policy did not at all seem applicable to a group of college grads.

  2. Haig's is in the archive, too, Aug '81. I think it's really neat that it's available.

    I cant remember your Lovett graduation either.