Here is Poet Laureate Billy Collins speaking at Colorado College in 2008: I am going to speak for 13 minutes. And if it makes you nervous to think that college graduates, families, faculty, and even You Tube will be scoring your speech, remember—there’ll be another commencement speaker up on the stage next year.
It’s graduation time at many of the nation’s schools and colleges.
The commencement ceremony is a great exhalation for all involved and an annual rite of passage celebrating academic achievements.
Shakespeare had that same problem—needing to address those in the Lord’s room, the galleries, and the ground pit.
He solved it by repeating himself, expressing ideas in both the Latinate phrases and in plain Anglo-Saxon, as when he combined unfamiliar words like .
It is well-known in the world of public speaking that there is no pleasure you can give an audience that compares to the pleasure they get when it is over, so you can look forward to experiencing that pleasure 13 minutes from now. We will only use your personal information to register you for OUPblog articles.
One of the most memorable commencement addresses at my institution was given by a retired speech professor, Leon Mulling.
His theme was the prevalence of fuzzy thinking and the desire for choices rather than fresh thought.
He touched on the theme repeatedly, with examples ranging from a lunch date with his sister, to a spelling bee, to a job interview, throwing in an allusion to Plato (for the faculty) and ending up with the point that thinking is painful hard work.