commencement speech

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Obama Tells Class of 2016 US Is 'Better Place' Than When He Graduated

But they still have 'plenty of work to do'

(Newser) - President Obama said Saturday that the country is "a better place today" than when he graduated from college more than 30 years ago, citing his historic election as "one indicator of how attitudes have changed," the AP reports. Obama delivered the commencement address to the Class of... More »

Graduation Morphs Into a Taylor Swift Flash Mob

NH valedictorian Colin Yost leads surprise senior jam to 'Shake It Off'

(Newser) - Parents who thought they were going to have to sit through a boring graduation in a stuffy gym got anything but at Portsmouth High School on Friday. Colin Yost, the valedictorian for the New Hampshire school's senior class, decided he wanted to shake things up—and off—during his... More »

College Also Dropping $9.5K on Private Jet for McConaughey

And possibly a "VIP Presidential" hotel suite

(Newser) - The Matthew McConaughey/University of Houston brouhaha continues: McConaughey is giving the commencement speech at the school Friday, and it earlier emerged that UH is paying him $135,000 to do so. Now it turns out that on top of that, the school is paying $9,500 so that McConaughey can... More »

Outrage as College Picks Cop-Killer as Grad Speaker

Mumia Abu-Jamal to give prerecorded speech at Goddard College

(Newser) - A small Vermont college has chosen a highly controversial commencement speaker: Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia cop in 1981. Officer Daniel Faulkner's widow calls the move "despicable," Fox News reports: "It seems like our justice system allows murderers to continue to have... More »

Obama to UC Students: Time to Take on Climate

President announces $1B natural-disaster fund

(Newser) - Offering a commencement address at UC Irvine today, President Obama sought to energize students for the fight against climate change. "The question is not whether we need to act,” the president said, noting that any debate has been "put to rest." "The question is whether... More »

Abramson: I'm Keeping My Times Tattoo

Ousted editor speaks at Wake Forest commencement

(Newser) - Now that she's out at the New York Times, will Jill Abramson remove the tattooed logo of its "T" from her back? "Not a chance," she told students during a Wake Forest University commencement speech, which, Politico notes, was her first public appearance since her firing... More »

Commencement Speaker Blasts 'Immature' Students

He slams students for forcing original speaker to cancel

(Newser) - This year's commencement speaker at Pennsylvania's Haverford College used his speech to blast students for causing the original speaker to cancel. Dozens of students and three professors had protested the choice of former UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau over his handling of an Occupy protest in 2011, the... More »

Holder: Forget 'Hateful Rants,' Real Racism Lurks Quietly

Cites disparities in sentencing, voting, education as far more damaging

(Newser) - Eric Holder dismissed the likes of Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy and their very public brouhahas, and focused on "policies that disenfranchise specific groups" as "more pernicious than hateful rants." His commencement speech yesterday at Baltimore's Morgan State University marked his most pointed commentary on race... More »

After Protests, Condoleezza Rice Cancels Rutgers Address

She was supposed to give the commencement speech later this month

(Newser) - Rutgers needs a new commencement speaker in a hurry. Condoleezza Rice announced today that she is withdrawing from the May 18 ceremony after students and faculty protested her selection, reports the National Review . "Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families," said... More »

Obama to Military: Sexual Assaults Making You Weaker

President addresses Naval Academy commencement

(Newser) - Barack Obama gave the commencement address at the US Naval Academy today, and he used the occasion to talk about the military's issues with sexual assault . The perpetrators of sexual violence "threaten the trust and discipline that makes our military strong," Obama said, according to USA Today... More »

Hopkins Doc Ditches Grad Speech in Gay Marriage Storm

Bestiality comparison enraged students

(Newser) - Neurosurgeon and rising conservative star Ben Carson is following through with his offer to step down as commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins medical school, where he works. Students launched a petition after Carson's comments regarding gay marriage, bestiality, and pedophilia. "Given all the national media surrounding my statements... More »

Why I Told Those Grads They're Not Special

David McCullough Jr. reflects on commencement speech

(Newser) - When high school English teacher David McCullough Jr. told a group of Massachusetts graduates they're not special , he wasn't expecting the deluge of publicity that followed, most of it "enthusiastically positive." He reflects on the experience and offers a follow-up in the Daily Beast , in which... More »

Finally, Grads Get Good Advice: 'You Are Not Special'

Editorial: Self-esteem movement takes a needed knock in speech

(Newser) - An English teacher in Massachusetts gave the commencement speech to a local high school and delivered a rarely heard message in such settings: "You are not special," David McCullough Jr. told students in Wellesely. "You are not exceptional." The students applauded, as do the editors at... More »

Obama Salutes Joplin's Grads, 'Inspiration'

President delivers commencement speech a year after deadly tornado

(Newser) - A year after a screaming tornado ripped out the heart of Joplin, Mo. , as its new graduates headed home from commencement , President Obama last night saluted the town's resilience as Joplin High School feted a new crop of graduates. "The story of Joplin isn't just what happened... More »

Obama's Our First Woman President

Dana Milbank thinks Obama's taking the pandering just a bit too far

(Newser) - Good news, Barack Obama. You may not be the first black president (that would be Bill Clinton), but you are the first gay one , and apparently the first woman, too. That's how Dana Milbank of the Washington Post is interpreting yesterday's schedule. Eager to exploit his advantage over... More »

What Commencement Speakers Should Really Say

Alexandra Petri weighs in on sometimes hard-to-hear truths

(Newser) - Wish you could ditch the inspirational commencement speech for something a bit more realistic? So does Alexandra Petri. But she wasn’t satisfied with Charles Wheelan’s recent list in the Wall Street Journal , “10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You,” because she kinda remembered hearing... More »

Obama Puts Kid to Sleep at Commencement

Kalamazoo Central student dozes through reward for winning video

(Newser) - Barack Obama yesterday presented Kalamazoo Central High School's class of 2010 with their reward for winning his "Race to the Top" video competition: a commencement address from him. Thousands of students submitted inspiring videos about their schools; you can see Kalamazoo's over at the Huffington Post . Or cut to... More »

High School Cancels Speech by Helen Thomas

She agrees to skip commencement talk after complaints

(Newser) - Helen Thomas has agreed to back out of a commencement speech at a Washington DC high school following complaints by students and parents. The veteran White House correspondent has come under fire for an interview in which she said Jews should "get the hell out" of Israel and go... More »

Graduation Speaker Ann Curry Lauds Wrong College

Wheaton College in Massachusetts—not Illinois— takes mistake in stride

(Newser) - Ann Curry is impressed with Wheaton College grads Billy Graham and Wes Craven, she said during her commencement address at Wheaton College. Trouble is, she was at the Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and Graham and Craven went to the school of the same name in Illinois. "I am mortified... More »

Obama Stresses Need for New 'International Order'

President says America can't succeed alone

(Newser) - President Obama's commencement speech at West Point today stressed a common theme: the need to "shape an international order than can meet the challenges of our times," reports the Washington Post . "Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system," he said. "But... More »

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