Column: Be courteous while listening to commencement speeches




A year ago attending my oldest granddaughter’s graduation from a major Virginia university, I was somewhat curious about the lack of a commencement speaker. There was instead a short, perhaps six- or seven-minute statement by the dean of her particular college, the largest in the school, praising the newly minted graduates and wishing them luck.

I was told that because of the size of the class and ancillary requirements like the awarding of faculty and student academic honors, it was decided to forgo the usual celebrity pep talk. I accepted this as sensible and plausible but suspected that another reason was the difficulty these days of enlisting men and women of stature to make the traditional speech and receive an honorary diploma — both designed to increase the prestige of the school as well as to honor the person chosen.

 

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