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We’re getting sold short

Tommy Maranges | Sunday, April 1, 2012

As a member of the class of 2012, I would like to congratulate the administration for their stellar choice of ­­- wait.

No. Stop. I can’t.

I can’t even pretend to be excited about our Commencement speaker. I’ve heard her name about two dozen times and I still can’t remember it. There is nothing else in my brain to make it stand out, no point of reference to give it traction.

Regis? Was Regis Philbin too busy being retired? He loves Notre Dame!

Our Commencement speaker didn’t even have a Wikipedia page as of the time of the the announcement. She’s not even mentioned on a different page. The administration couldn’t spend an hour or two clicking “Random Article?”

We might have ended up with some Under-under-secretary of the UN Commission on Greek Poetry and River Blindness, but at least she’d meet Wikipedia’s notability guidelines.

Hillary? Hillary Clinton is important and allegedly a woman. We couldn’t get her? You have to go back to 1991 to find a commencement speaker who doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, all the way back to 1974, Dr. Rosemary Park, to find someone who isn’t even mentioned on Wikipedia. Last time Notre Dame had a speaker this obscure, Hank Aaron had just hit his 715th home run and PONG became the first video game to sell 100,000 copies. NASA began building the first space shuttle, and the final frontier beckoned.

Gary Oldman? He has an inspiring story of overcoming long odds. I know that because I read his Wikipedia page. Because he has one.

There are plenty of reasons to have this particular speaker: It’s the 50th anniversary of Notre Dame admitting women. Her life is being made into a movie, which I’m sure will be as faithful to the original story as Rudy was. But none of those reasons are in service to us, the Class of 2012. If in twenty years I have to listen to my family talk about how inspired they were by that one scene where she gets to be the commencement speaker and everyone loves it, I’m going to flip out.

In 2009, in the midst of controversy driven by outsiders for political leverage, we were told again and again that the Commencement is supposed to be about the graduates, no one else. So what went wrong here?

Tommy Maranges


off campus

March 29