The Brian Lehrer Show

Pomp, Circumstance and a Dose of Republican Viewpoints

Monday, May 04, 2015

As college graduation season gets underway, why are students protesting conservative speakers? Plus, a Rutgers professor calls in about Condoleezza Rice's botched speech last year.

Comments [28]

Studio 360

Lisa Kudrow's Greatest Failures

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Friends actress majored in biology at Vassar College. In this 2010 commencement address, she admits "as in most pursuits, 'one's self' is one of the biggest hurdles to get over."
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The Takeaway

The Curious Tradition of the West Point Goat

Thursday, May 29, 2014

All eyes were on President Obama at the West Point graduation ceremony Wednesday, drawing attention away from the graduating cadets. But one cadet was still singled out for a big cheer. We look at the West Point tradition of honoring the last-ranked graduate, dubbed “the goat.” 

Comments [4]

New Jersey News

Chris Christie's Immigration Story

Saturday, May 17, 2014

At his only commencement speech of the season Christie told a hushed audience a 16-minute story about the immigration experience of his grandmother.


The Brian Lehrer Show

Who Spoke At Your Graduation?

Friday, May 16, 2014

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]


Cooper Union Student Protests Spill into Graduation Ceremony

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cooper Union's graduating class used Wednesday's ceremony to display their disapproval for the school's plan to begin charging tuition in 2014, for the first time in its history. Many students, including the student speaker, refused to shake hands with President Jamshed Bharucha when receiving their diplomas on stage.


Listen to Lucy

Graduates need a dose of reality

Monday, May 27, 2013

Graduates need a dose of reality


The Takeaway

Listener Wisdom for the Class of 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

As college and universities around the country begin setting off recent graduates into the world of industry, the ritual turning of the tassel would not be complete without one final lecture, courtesy of Takeaway listeners.

Comments [2]

The Takeaway

Wise Words for New Grads, from Bob Woodruff

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It’s that time of year, when millions of students around the country sit in cap and gown, through speeches that are meant to inspire, but oftentimes, are simply forgotten. Knowing this, what can a commencement speaker say that’s worthwhile? Award-winning journalist Bob Woodruff, who gave last year's commencement address at Boston College, shares his thoughts.

Comments [2]

The Takeaway

In Praise of the Less-Than-Earnest Commencement Speech

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's that time of year when new graduates must sit through commencement speeches, some of which will be boring, some of which will be inspiring, and most of which will be very earnest. Renowned financial educator and broadcaster Alvin Hall thinks that maybe they should be a little less earnest. 

Comments [3]

Slate Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest: I Thought We Really Made A Connection Edition

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Slate critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner discuss the legacy of Donna Summer, Robin Gibb and Disco, why Stephen loves The Bachelorette, and the cultural phenomenon of the commencement speech.


Transportation Nation

Transpo Big Slings Life Lessons At New Grads

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Readers of TN know that transportation is not just a way of life, it is the key to the meaning of life. And now the George Mason University Class of 2012 knows it, too, after listening to a commencement address by National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman.

"Congratulations, Patriots," Hersman began, referring to the school's sports teams, before orienting her audience to the intensity of her job as head of the federal agency charged with showing up after a deadly crash and figuring out what happened.

"I have been at 19 major accident scenes and there is nothing - nothing - that makes the point about the importance of family and friends more than seeing how things change in the blink of an eye," she said. "You can send a loved one off on a routine trip and then nothing is ever routine again."

Her conclusion? "Treasure each day ... each moment ... each other."

In case that wasn't sobering enough, Hersman added this statistic: "Since I graduated from high school in 1988, more than 300,000 people have been killed in impaired driving accidents."

She blamed part of the problem on the dangers of distraction. "We've seen what can happen when pilots don't monitor their airspeed, locomotive engineers run a red signal, or drivers are distracted," she said.

Her conclusion? "Life is fleeting and precious. Be present ... be there ... be in the moment."

Avoiding distraction is especially important for transportation professionals, Hersman declared. "Sadly, in our investigations, too many times we see the consequences of tired transportation workers. Pilots who overfly their destinations and don't respond to air traffic controllers, drowsy bus drivers on overnight trips...and more."

She then used a--what else?--transportation metaphor to describe the relentlessness of change. "In transportation, cables and pulleys were replaced by hydraulic systems, and these in turn, are being replaced by electronic sensors," she said. Conclusion: "You can resist change ... or you can embrace it. I recommend the latter."

Hersman wrapped up by describing her main satisfaction as head of the NTSB: "Our work saves lives. It doesn't get any better than that."

She acknowledged that humans have been known to celebrate large achievements, lke graduating from college, with alcohol. Conclusion: "Please make the life-saving choice to designate a driver or take a cab home."

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Top 5 @ 105

Top Five Classical Commencement Speakers

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Now is the time of caps and gowns, Pomp and Circumstance and more than a few speeches offering worldly advice to this year’s crop of college graduates.

Comments [4]

The Takeaway

Obama to Deliver University of Michigan Commencement Speech

Friday, April 30, 2010

President Obama will deliver the commencement speech at the University of Michigan tomorrow. The university expects a majority of the students to attend along with 80,000 friends and family members. And as Jake Smilovitz, editor in chief of the student-run paper, tells us that expectations run high, considering the school's history of ground-breaking presidential speeches. Lyndon Johnson, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, and John F. Kennedy have all taken the stage at U of M.


    Studio 360

    Commentary: Art and the Internet

    Saturday, December 23, 2000

    Kurt talks about art and the Internet.