Dear graduates...

In its 247-year history, Penn has ushered many notables down its Ivy League red carpet. International scholars, businessmen, senators, First Ladies, and even Presidents have been invited to give Penn seniors departing words. (This year’s commencement speaker will be Archbishop Desmond Tutu.) We at the Current were wondering who you’d like to see at the podium, so we asked around…

MIKE LIGHT
Administrative Assistant, School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Division

“Maybe Ari Fleischer... Norah Jones. She’d be good.”

EVANGELINE RICHBURG
Records Assistant, School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Division

“I really don’t know. Get a movie star. Get Robert Redford.”

MARISA PAGANO
Administrative Assistant, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science
“I would say Jimmy Carter, but that’s just me.”

GILBERT KOWIE
Systems Assistant, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science
“Not George Bush.”

RICHARD GELLES
Dean, School of Social Work
“Rodney Dangerfield from ‘Back to School.’ That was the best commencement speech I ever saw.”

ELLEN KENNEDY
Professor, Political Science
“Gerhard Schroeder. Americans need to hear what the Germans know about war.”

MICHAEL JANSON
Ph.D. Candidate, Teaching Assistant, Political Science
“50 Cent. We may have missed him at Spring Fling, but he’s very articulate.”

AVERY GOLDSTEIN
Graduate Group Chair, Political Science
“Pat Croce. He is an inspirational speaker that will convey to graduates the kind of success they might have if they are willing to work hard.”

LUCY O’CONNELL
Administrative Assistant, Slavic/Germanic Languages Department
“I would choose Bill Nye, the Science Guy. I don’t think he’s on anymore, but he’s interesting, funny and extremely ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder]. Or is that ADHD? Maybe Vonnegut would be better?”

ROGERS SMITH
Professor, Political Science
“Clinton-Dole, point-counterpoint. Each, in his own way, has achieved a position of high political leadership, while at the same time showing that famous people are still remarkably human.”

—Jason Bartlett and Eden Lin

NEXT ISSUE’S QUESTION: What will you do with your tax refund—if you’re getting one? Got an answer? E-mail us at current@pobox.upenn.edu or call 215-898-1426.

Originally published on April 3, 2003