Thursday, May 14, 2009

Graduation Speeches

I lucked into having the right channel on last night when Obama's grad speech at ASU came on live. It was outstanding. His riff on the theme "you haven't done enough to deserve a degree from us" led to a series of challenges to the new graduates.

Check out the text from the Huffington Post and video (Part 1 of 3) from CNN and YouTube. There are plenty of good ideas in there to steal if you need to give your own graduation speech some day, particularly if you are looking for a turn on the usual riff on "commencement" marking a beginning rather than an ending.

If you need other ideas ... check out what Dean Dad had to offer in his letter to graduates, and this make believe speech "given" at the make believe U of All People.

Obama is definitely a master of using self-deprecating humor to deflect his critics, not to mention a master of any crowd. I particularly liked the way he called out various majors (education, nursing, engineering) and, after they cheered hearing their name said by the President, challenging each of them to do something for the country. Definitely an "ask not" moment, but directed specifically at young people entering far more challenging times than we faced in 1960 and, in a way, directed specifically at each individual student in that group.

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