Speak to us

While this year’s Commencement speaker is something of a departure—Bono is the first rock star to deliver a Commencement address at Penn—his record of social activism places him solidly in the tradition of honoring those who have made significant contributions to society.

That also holds true for many of the people our respondents suggested when we asked them who they would pick for Commencement speaker. While politicians dominate the list, other choices reflect a desire to hear about current news events or the issues facing Penn. Maybe one of these will speak in 2005.

Kermit Roosevelt
Assistant Professor of Law

“Amy Gutmann. She can tell the university what her vision for the future is.”

Peter Petraitis
Professor of Biology

“Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show’—someone who has an interesting point of view and would bring a lot of honor to it.”

Lee Peachey
Professor Emeritus of Biology

“Anne Garrels, who is a reporter for NPR. She recently published a book called ‘Naked in Baghdad,’ which is a very interesting book. She was in Baghdad during the whole Iraq war, She came back afterwards and now she’s gone over again just to see what’s gone on since then. She’s a marvelous person, and it’s a beautiful book. She’s very honest and articulate, at least judging from the book, and I think she’s very brave to be spending her time there. I really like this idea—actually it came from my wife, but that’s where most of my good ideas come from.”

Lisa Bouillione
Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership Division, GSE

“Mario Cuomo. I think that he would be able to give a thought-provoking commentary on the social and political affairs and help students look forward.”

Nicole Brown
Administrative Assistant

“Bill Clinton. He was my favorite President and I like what he stands for. I wish he was still in office. He believed in peace, he was a fair president and he had the economy going.”

Courtney Michener
Program Coordinator, GSE

“Madeline Albright, because she is an international expert, because things were a lot better four years ago then they are now.”

Michele Griffin
Administrative Assistant, Psychology in Education Division, GSE

“Judith Rodin, to see how she says goodbye, what her parting thoughts may be.”

Raymond Lorion
Professor, Psychology in Education Division, GSE

“John McCain. I think he more than any other politician says what he believes.”

Originally published on March 18, 2004