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View Full Version : OT: Commencement Speakers of the WCC



Angelo Roncalli
05-10-2007, 09:49 PM
OK, so I'm really bored. Here's the list of those giving inspiration and advice to 2007 graduates of WCC schools:

Gonzaga: Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Co., proud parent of a graduating senior
Santa Clara: David Broder, Washington Post political columnist, author
St. Mary's: Right Rev. John S. Cummins, Bishop of Oakland
Pepperdine: Laura Bush, first lady, mother of Jenna
San Diego: John Prendergast, author, advisor on African issues
Portland: Right Rev. Archbishop John Foley, President, Pontifical Council for Social Communications
San Francisco: Tommie Lindsey, Jr., teacher/author, educational activist
Loyola Marymount, Erin Brockovich, former paralegal, environmental activist

RenoZag
05-10-2007, 10:03 PM
In 1979, we had noted historian and academic Henry Steele Commager.

The worst delivered, most boring, least inspirational public speaker ever.
He dug out some paper he had delivered at a seminar and pitched that.

Took at least 35 minutes and was only greeted by a barely audible clapping when he finally shut the ---- up after saying "thank you."

As I recall, the Class of 78 had Bob Hope and he did a great job, as one would expect.


As for the crop Angelo lists above, I think Broder might be worth listening to.

jbslicer
05-11-2007, 03:19 AM
Does GU still give out about 800 honorary doctors of this and that?

NJZag
05-11-2007, 04:00 AM
OK, so I'm really bored. Here's the list of those giving inspiration and advice to 2007 graduates of WCC schools:

Pepperdine: Laura Bush, first lady, mother of Jenna


Also mother of the other twin, once part of the "Jenna & Tonic" moniker. :D But neither of them attended Pepperdine, did they?

News about her appearance at commencement, where she is the third Bush family member to deliver an address at that University.


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-laura29apr29,1,1415629.story?coll=la-headlines-nation

The First Lady concluded her speech by reflecting on the Pepperdine motto, “Freely ye received, freely give,” and she challenged the graduating seniors to live their lives accordingly.

“Class of 2007,” she said, You’ve received the blessings of your time at Pepperdine. Now it’s time to freely give. Use your talent and energy to make a better world for people throughout our country and across the globe. You’ll find happiness along the way.”

Other news reports mentioned that she had done her homework about campus life, famous (and infamous) classes and professors, local hangouts -- with jokes about those things well-received -- and was able to invoke the names of students and recent grads doing "good works" both in the U.S. and abroad. A campus could probably "do worse" for a speaker. And in mentioning Africa, she would have drawn on some semi-recent experiences since she was the U.S. "representative" to Liberia's installation of the first woman president of an African nation a little over a year ago -- stopping off in a neighboring country and asking to meet its Peace Corps volunteers. Among the vols she met on that occasion would have been Gonzaga University's Paul Sari (GU Class of '05).

OutHouseZag
05-11-2007, 08:13 AM
In 1989 our speaker was Lou Holtz. He was outstanding. Very inspirational, which I guess is what you look for in a commencement speaker - or football coach.

BobZag
05-11-2007, 08:37 AM
Brockovich looks to be the most entertaining, with a never-give-up underdog story to relay.

BoltZag
05-11-2007, 11:21 AM
Other news reports mentioned that she had done her homework about campus life, famous (and infamous) classes and professors, local hangouts -- with jokes about those things well-received.

More likely that the member of the First Lady's staff who wrote the speech probably also did the homework.

englishzag
05-11-2007, 12:07 PM
1994 we had Cokie Roberts. She started with a tasteless joke about Jesuits and it went downhill from there. That and the fact it was at the Boone Street Barn and lasted 48 hours was a little disappointing.

NJZag
05-11-2007, 12:10 PM
More likely that the member of the First Lady's staff who wrote the speech probably also did the homework.

Quite possible, but the family has been well represented at Pepperdine commencements over the years. Dubya as a Texas gov, First Mother-In-Law Barbara when she was still First Lady, now Laura. Someone might belong to Church of Christ in that family somewhere, maybe???

TexasZagFan
05-11-2007, 01:12 PM
I have no recollection of our commencement speaker in 1976, except that he was a business executive.

I was a bit hungover :lmao: from the previous day's post-commissioning party, so my attention span was limited, as well.

I do remember the commissioning ceremony: while we were taking the oath of office, a streaker made a mad dash through the Quad. We heard the commotion, but being good soldiers, we kept our eyes front and center! :D

Shanachie
05-11-2007, 02:16 PM
1994 we had Cokie Roberts. She started with a tasteless joke about Jesuits and it went downhill from there. That and the fact it was at the Boone Street Barn and lasted 48 hours was a little disappointing.

I was there in '94 since my girlfriend was graduating, but I have no memory of the tasteless joke or anything else about her speech. My impression at the time, though, was that it was better than the one given at my own ceremony the year before. That one was by a social activist nun whose name I don't remember. I think she was an interesting and admirable person with a good message, but the thing that I remember was feeling more guilty than inspired by her speech.

Spike94
05-11-2007, 03:16 PM
I have to put my two cents in about 94. I remember people around me and myself very suprised that she made that joke. I also remember that her speach was very anti-Chrisian values. I also have to agree that it took forever in an unairconditioned arena. I actually went up and sat with my folks toward the end.

Angelo Roncalli
05-11-2007, 03:22 PM
As Reno mentioned, my class in '78 had Bob Hope (it was during that school year that Bing had passed away). We had commencement at the old Spokane Coliseum and they played "Thanks for the Memories" during the procession instead of Pomp and Circumstance.

When my little sister graduated about 10 years later, Lou Holtz was the the speaker.

lothar98zag
05-11-2007, 03:54 PM
I graduated in May 98.

No clue who spoke at my ceremony.

That is all.

SLOZag
05-11-2007, 04:07 PM
For those who begrudge their commencement speakers, consider this:

In 1969 my commencement speaker (at the USAF Academy) was Richard Nixon, who took the occasion to advise this new crop of Air Force officers that the US would "officially" start bombing to Laos and Cambodia (after having done so for months and denying it). Mighty inspirational, I'll tellya.

oregongufan
05-11-2007, 04:36 PM
My Master's ceremony from Linfield College in 1982 had "Mr. Rogers" as the speaker and the undergrads/master candidates all sang "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" theme song after his presentation. My 4 year old daughter, future graduate of Gonzaga (2000), was in the audience. She got to meet the gentleman at the reception. She was very impressed!

BobZag
05-11-2007, 05:14 PM
In 1978, Gonzaga University invited Hope to deliver the commencement address and to receive an honorary doctorate.

“I never went to college, all because of a little technicality,” he told the graduates.“High school.”

Because it was the year after Crosby died, much of Hope’s speech was devoted to a tribute to Bing.

He called their friendship “the best security blanket an adult ever had.”

He then told the Gonzaga grads to cherish their friends, because lifelong friendships will be “your most cherished possessions.”

“I hope I have made a lot of friends here,” Hope said, and then he marched down the aisle to the strains of his theme song, “Thanks for the Memories.”

When the music came up, an usher immediately broke into tears.

ZagNative
05-11-2007, 05:19 PM
In 1978, Gonzaga University invited Hope to deliver the commencement address and to receive an honorary doctorate.

....

“I hope I have made a lot of friends here,” Hope said, and then he marched down the aisle to the strains of his theme song, “Thanks for the Memories.”

When the music came up, an usher immediately broke into tears.

Now BZ has gone and done it! Goosebumps! Gosh, that would have been great to see and hear.

beatProgram
05-11-2007, 08:37 PM
The worst delivered, most boring, least inspirational public speaker ever. He dug out some paper he had delivered at a seminar and pitched that.

Took at least 35 minutes and was only greeted by a barely audible clapping when he finally shut the ---- up after saying "thank you."


Could have been worse. You could have had Fr. Spitzer.

"I want to present to you three points... blah blah blah."

time passes with much belabored verbiage

"Agape... blah blah."

time passes. you begin to wonder if William Shatner is Spitzer's elocution coach.

"Agape... blah blah. blah blah. blah blah."

you're beginning to lose all faith in humanity, because you've heard this guy is supposedly an excellent speaker.

"Blah blah blah... ... ... Agape."

alright Universe, you win. I once felt I'd known the bitter cold of utterly saturating boredom, but once again you've shown me the arrogance of my youth. THIS is the epitome of duldrum.




Of course much to your chagrin the people around you actually begin to clap, and you're left to wonder if they're clapping because they actually thought it was a good speech, or if they're simply clapping like they did when your mentally-challenged cousin Philip opened all his Christmas presents without strangling himself with any of the ribbon.

Either way it's just enough encouragement to keep the guy coming back and speaking publicly against all possible sensibility.

ZagNative
05-11-2007, 11:11 PM
Bravo BeatProgram! I feel your pain. Again, I wish I'd been there ... so I could share your pain ... but not really....

Nevtelen
05-12-2007, 10:06 AM
Don't remember who spoke in '99 at all. When I got my M.A. in 05' it was some civil rights activist lawyer, I think. I pretty much blanked it out.

brasszag
05-12-2007, 12:55 PM
Sr. Helen Prejean spoke in 98 IIRC (Of Dead Man Walking fame)

mtzaga
05-12-2007, 05:03 PM
In 1979, we had noted historian and academic Henry Steele Commager.

The worst delivered, most boring, least inspirational public speaker ever.
He dug out some paper he had delivered at a seminar and pitched that.

Took at least 35 minutes and was only greeted by a barely audible clapping when he finally shut the ---- up after saying "thank you."

As I recall, the Class of 78 had Bob Hope and he did a great job, as one would expect.


As for the crop Angelo lists above, I think Broder might be worth listening to.

I was there in 1979. I had never heard of HSC before. He was as bad as RenoZag said he was. I was also there in 1978. I had heard of Bob Hope.
He did a great job.

MickMick
05-12-2007, 05:30 PM
I remember watching a World Series game that Howard Cosell was calling. The camera panned over to Bob Hope sitting a few rows up from home plate. Howard muttered "There is Bob Hope....he was a friend of Bing's." This took place shortly after the death of Bing Crosby. Which brings us full circle to the answer to the following question: Why on earth would Bob Hope speak at Gonzaga? This was well before the school enjoyed the national recognition it does now.

Angelo Roncalli
05-12-2007, 05:43 PM
Bing died while playing golf in Spain on October 14, 1977, a month and a half into our senior year. As I recall, there was poll or survey about potential commencement speakers, and Hope was the overwhelming favorite. I believe that Hope was approached through Kathryn Crosby.

Birddog
05-12-2007, 06:27 PM
It runs in my mind, that the '69 speaker was Walter J Hinkle, former Alaskan Gov and then Sec of Int. Whoever it was, talked way to long as did nearly everybody that day. It was about 85* outside and about 90* inside and everybody was uncomfortable. Anybody from '69 know fer sure? It was somebody with an Alaskan tie.

Birddog

BobZag
05-12-2007, 07:24 PM
How come the 1978 graduation was in the Coliseum and the 1982 graduation was in the old Kennel?

Hope and Crosby were very good friends. Crosby was a GU alum. Hope did his friend and his alma mater a favor. That's not a hard one to understand.

Angelo Roncalli
05-12-2007, 08:31 PM
How come the 1978 graduation was in the Coliseum and the 1982 graduation was in the old Kennel?

Purely a matter of needing a venue big enough for the audience.

TR11Zag
05-12-2007, 09:10 PM
Gonzaga: Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Co., proud parent of a graduating senior

Mulally is a fantastic speaker. He is very passionate about what he does for Ford and what he did for Boeing. I've herad him speak and he will not let you down.

zagirl2k
05-13-2007, 08:26 AM
Best Graduation speech I've heard in person was at my brother's graduation from Boston College a couple of years ago. Tim Russert was the speaker and his son or daughter was going to be a freshman the next year so he had a strong connection to the school and it showed. Got in some good Notre Dame jabs, which always go over well at BC, and was just heartfelt and entertaining. Of course a limited # of people got to hear him because we were packed into Conte Forum since it was pouring outside.

I have no clue who mine from GU was in 2000, just remember lots of random honorary degrees and such.

BoltZag
05-13-2007, 10:37 AM
Could have been worse. You could have had Fr. Spitzer. "I want to present to you three points... blah blah blah."


Generally, this is the sentiment for folks who don't understand Spitzer. Sorry. Of course, he's never given a commencement address at GU, so it's really quite irrelevant.


the '69 speaker was Walter J Hinkle

it's Hickel.


Tim Russert was the speaker and his son or daughter was going to be a freshman.

his son, Luke.

Birddog
05-13-2007, 10:48 AM
it's Hickel.

Thanks, I knew it didn't sound just right and that explains why I couldn't Google him.

Birddog

beatProgram
05-13-2007, 11:10 AM
Generally, this is the sentiment for folks who don't understand Spitzer. Sorry. Of course, he's never given a commencement address at GU, so it's really quite irrelevant.


He spoke at my Graduation, though not as the guest speaker obviously.

Though I'd love it if you could enlighten me about just what fantastically intellectual and thought provoking facet of Spitzer's oration I've so brazenly evaded.

mendiant
05-13-2007, 12:04 PM
Quite possible, but the family has been well represented at Pepperdine commencements over the years. Dubya as a Texas gov, First Mother-In-Law Barbara when she was still First Lady, now Laura. Someone might belong to Church of Christ in that family somewhere, maybe???

Jeb is a Convert to Catholicism, his wife brought him in years after they were married.

kdoggy
05-14-2007, 08:45 PM
can't remember except that she was lame. My wifes class has a guy that was imprisoned by the commies in China for like 30 years. Cokie and her interfaith marriage was a tad less inspirational. Amazingly upbeat and inspirational.

MedZag
05-14-2007, 10:03 PM
Mulally is a fantastic speaker. He is very passionate about what he does for Ford and what he did for Boeing. I've herad him speak and he will not let you down.

Really enjoyed the speech. Difficult to deliver something that pleases 8,000 people when each person wants something different from you, but he kept it short and sweet and had a good balance of humor and candor.

GaelBaller
05-15-2007, 02:20 PM
It makes since the first lady is going to end up speaking at Pepperdine. Like many other commencements at ultra-religious evangelical colleges, the big name republicans and presidential candidates (McCain at Liberty, Romney at Regent) seem to feel that these are great PR moments. I guess they think these groups represent their normal constituency.

sittingon50
05-15-2007, 02:32 PM
I go along with those praising Mulally. It was a good speech.

I was the proud papa of a graduating girl.

BoltZag
05-16-2007, 10:28 AM
It makes since the first lady is going to end up speaking at Pepperdine. Like many other commencements at ultra-religious evangelical colleges

Uhhh...someone hasn't visited Malibu lately. GU and St. Mary's (from which apparently you hail) are far more overtly religious than Pepperdine.

SunshineZag
05-20-2007, 11:29 PM
Mr. Mulally was a great speaker. I'll admit, I was skeptical when I saw he was going to give the big speech; I thought, "what does a guy who made $28 million dollars this year have to say to me, a liberal arts major with no such financial prospects?" But he did a great job. He seemed to know what the crowd wanted to hear and he kept it a good length.

I think for students often the student speaker is as important or more important than the guest speaker. In '05 it was Erik Mertens, who majored in Comm (which was evident in his confident delivery), and whose speech literally made people in the audience cry. The guest speaker that year was mediocre--he had nothing to say about Gonzaga specifically and was in a field (theater?) not particularly relevant to most of the graduates (considering Gonzaga doesn't, to my knowledge, offer a degree in theater). But Erik more than made up for it.

Also that year ('05) I heard Father Spitzer give the exact same speech at the Law, Grad, and Undergrad commencements, and I'll tell you what, it really grew on me. This year I didn't really listen. He said something about time.

NJZag
05-21-2007, 07:46 AM
Pelosi spoke at USF -- did they have different speakers for different schools or did they make a switch in who was selected?

Her speech:

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-19-2007/0004591992&EDATE=

BobZag
06-04-2007, 03:34 PM
Will he play PF or C?

lothar98zag
06-04-2007, 03:49 PM
I don't know why SMC would recruit him. He's an NCAA violation waiting to happen...