If you’re attending Georgetown’s 209th commencement exercises this weekend, you’re there to see your friends get their diplomas, not to listen to the speeches. But there will still be speakers, and while you’re sitting on Healy Lawn wishing you had remembered your sunglasses, you might as well listen to what they have to say. Or should you? That depends on which school’s graduation it is.
Georgetown College – Wendy S. Kopp, Teach for America Founder and CEO - I’m sure she’s a smart/interesting person, but this seems a little too much like pandering. 10% of Georgetown’s senior class applied to TFA, so there’ll probably be some congratulatory, everybody’s a winner, you guys are going to change the world blather in this speech. I think the ideal graduation speaker is someone super-accomplished who makes you want to go on to do something big, not someone who makes you feel big already (Saturday at noon.)
School of Foreign Service – H.H. Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned, Qatar Foundation Chairperson – The SFS is obsessed with all things Qatari, for reasons I still don’t quite understand. Hopefully this speech will shed some light on that (Saturday at 6 p.m.)
McDonough School of Business – Carlos M. Gutierrez, United States Secretary of Commerce - This guy is a very big deal. He’s on TV during the state of the Union, and as the go-to econ guy in the Bush cabinet, probably partially responsible for running our nation’s economy into the ground. Maybe an MSB grad who failed to net a sweet i-banking job because of the recession will egg him or something scandalous like that. But I doubt it (Saturday at 9 a.m.)
School of Nursing and Health Studies – Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Health care research is a personal favorite, but it’s not really the stuff of “ask not what your country can do for you” speeches. (Before you say anything, I know, that was an inauguration, not a graduation, but you know what I mean.) This speech will be interesting, but expect people, especially grad’s younger sibs, to get restless by the middle (Saturday at 3 p.m.)
School of Medicine – Ambassador Mark Dybul, United States Global AIDS Coordinator - see: NHS, but AIDS is quite a bit trendier, so the audience will probably stay with him until the end (Sunday at 11:15 a.m.)
Law Center – Joel I. Klein, New York City Public Schools Chancellor - Big ups to Klein for being the only speaker whose name I recognized sans title. I’m still not sure how I feel about that whole “banning cell phones in schools” policy, but he certainly subscribes to the Great Man theory of reforming public education, and I’m sure he’ll give a compelling talk that’s even worth hauling yourself down to the law school for (Sunday at 2 p.m.)
Photo from Flickr user Il Primo Umo used under a Creative Commons license.