Throughout our lives there are few celebrations that require an unparalleled standard of excellence. College graduation is one of those times where we as students must demand the highest of standards from our university. We and our families have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into this school and we deserve, in our final hour as students, a grand goodbye. Unfortunately, the University of Dayton’s “decision makers” have decided against the widely practiced tradition of inviting an established commencement speaker to send us off with words of wisdom and encouragement.
Commencement speeches at graduations are a tradition instilled in the framework of some of the country’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning. It’s a shame for the students who have given so much to their school, and an embarrassment for the university not to provide an exceptional speaker.
After reading the remaining portion of this article, ask your parents what they remember most about their college graduation ceremonies; I guarantee they won’t remember much. However, ask them who performed the commencement speech and I’d bet the face and words of the speaker still appear and echo in their minds. They won’t remember the student president’s speech or the university president’s for that matter (no offense President Curran); they will remember their commencement speaker. Unfortunately, UD has removed, for their graduating seniors and their families, the opportunity to remember any such speech by abandoning the collegiate tradition of a commencement speaker.
The importance of a great commencement speaker stretches far beyond graduation day. An audience of eager young minds, ready to enter the real world, has the opportunity to find real inspiration in a simple speech that could change their mindset from landing a job to searching for a passion.
As of now, UD’s “decision makers” feel that the ceremony should be limited and made as short as possible. My question is, “Why are we worried about making the culmination of four years an hour shorter?” I’d rather have a memorable celebration than a dull graduation.
Over the past couple weeks I started a petition, contacted countless university decision makers and reached out to possible commencement speakers. One possibility, Jon Gruden, would be an excellent candidate, in my opinion. UD is his alma mater and he is one of the most successful and noticeable Flyers around. Since graduating from UD in 1984 he has won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003, worked for ESPN and Monday Night Football and traveled the country as a renowned motivational speaker with his intensity and inspirational outlook on work and life.
This policy needs changing, not in the coming years, but now. This is my final year here at the greatest school I know and the place I’ve called home for the past four years. This isn’t just for me; it’s for my fellow seniors and those that will follow in our footsteps.
For there to be change, numbers must back the fight. So if you’d like your university to host a ceremony that reflects the needs and wants of its students; spread the word and sign the petition at: www.change.org/petitions/university-of-dayton-sponsor-a-key-note-speaker-for-the-graduation-ceremony-in-may-2013.
This way, when our children ask us about our graduation, we will have a story to tell.