Who Spoke At Your Graduation?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bill Cosby, USF 2012 Commencement (Shawn/flickr)

George Saunders stopped by the show last week to talk about his viral commencement speech, which made us wonder: "Do you remember who spoke at your graduation and what they said?" Call in and tell us at 212-433-9692, or leave a response in on our blog.

Comments [9]


I graduated in 2003 from Indiana University, and our then Senator Dick Lugar spoke...and instead of speaking on any topic that really applied, his entire speech was a giant defense of the war in Iraq. Not only did it feel really inappropriate to use our commencement as a chance to spew the administration's talking points, but in a liberal town about a week after they announced Mission Acomplished, it unsurprisingly didn't go over terribly well.

May. 16 2014 02:37 PM
Laura from Brooklyn

I graduated from Clark University in 1975. Two of the memorable moments:
1) I forget who said it - probably the president of the University. He opened the ceremony by congratulating us, and telling us "You are the first post-Vietnam war graduating class". We went crazy. I still get choked up, thinking about it.
2) Our commencement speaker was May Sarton. most of us had never heard of her, but I'm sure we still remember her. She spoke of a gentle birth process, bringing babies into the world through gentleness and water, not in a sterile, brightly-lit room, scaring the newborn. It was, obviously, a metaphor for us going into the world.

May. 16 2014 12:04 PM
Antonio from baySide

Actually Bill Cosby spoke at my graduation. What I remember so vividly was the fact it felt like he did his homework about the majors at my school (F.I.T). I was a illustration major BFA. I mean he knew stuff about Graphic Design, Fashion Design, was so surprising!

May. 16 2014 11:59 AM
Camille from Crown Heights. Brooklyn

Janet Reno spoke at my university commencement. I have absolutely zero recollection of what she said. I remember he being taller than I expected her to be.

May. 16 2014 11:54 AM
Stephen from prospect heights

Michael J. Fox. at John Dewey HS in 1984. We gave him an honory degree because he never graduated from high school due to his career.

May. 16 2014 11:53 AM
Ray Radigan from Amherst, MA

SUNY New Paltz, 2005, Speaker: Aiden Quinn
"I dropped out of college. College really isn't that important."

I'll remember that for years to come.

May. 16 2014 11:53 AM
Tom Crisp from UWS

At my high school graduation we were addressed by our state legislator. I remember both her name and the moment she got our attention: in the un-air conditioned gymnasium, acknowledging the hot June night, she turned over all the pages of her speech and said, "Now let me skip to my closing words ..."

May. 16 2014 11:43 AM
Amelia from Brooklyn

Patti Smith spoke at my graduation at Radio City Music Hall! (Pratt Institute 2010) She was funny, charming, self deprecating and inspiring - as someone who had not gone to college, she told us to be grateful of the experiences we had and to take care of our teeth. Then she rocked out with "Blaken Year!"

May. 16 2014 10:20 AM
Steve from Northport

At my sister's graduation at LIU Post, Charles Schumer spoke. And he gave a very similar speech to the one he gave at my high school graduation. He had a choice after college between a scholarship and a girl, he chose the girl who broke up with him by labor day. I know this speech so well.

May. 16 2014 10:03 AM

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