For my homecoming editorial, I decided to write about something with which our alumni can help the University. For upcoming graduations, we need more engaging, better speakers.I realize we all can’t have Stephen Colbert come give a commencement speech, but we need to get someone more engaging than Dolores Gresham, the state senator who gave this past spring’s speech.
It was a droll affair in which the person sitting a few chairs down from me dozed off. I wish I was making that up. Honestly, thank the Lord for “Brickbreaker” on my phone, or I may have fallen asleep too.
Gresham broke nearly all of the “8 Keys to a Graduation Speech with Pomp & Significance” from USA Today.
Topics, such as leadership in the face of adversity and being yourself, are inspirational, but we’ve been hearing that since Kindergarten. When addressing a class of soon-to-be college graduates, there needs to be more significant value to it, not generalities.
Gresham might have made some thought-provoking statement that radically altered the lives all those who heard it. Let me get back to you on what it was, because it definitely didn’t register with me.
And that’s not an politics issue. She and I definitely disagree on certain issues, such as bringing firearms into restaurants which serve alcohol. She voted ‘Yea;’ I think that’s amazingly stupid. Make a strong statement and defend it. Engage the audience.
Make a bold statement up there, but don’t offend people in the audience. It’s OK to dabble in politics, but make sure you leave the audience with something to think about after you leave.
If she was excited about giving the speech, I missed it. Let’s think about the situation. You are giving a speech to 1,250 graduates plus their families, who are all waiting for a diploma and the chance to bust out of there to hit the parties. Speaking in mono-tone is not going to hold anyone’s attention. Get up there, and be happy and engaging.
But, the most egregious error in her speech was that it was far too long. From what I have read, 10 to 15 minutes is a good amount. I stopped checking my watch after 20 minutes into her speech. Regardless, short and sweet is key.
So alumni, this is where you can help.
Have you lived an exciting life in which you have learned life lessons you want to share with students? Please, come forward and offer to tell some of the things you learned at Tech, things you learned in life and how things you learned at Tech affected your life.
I want to hear about your life lessons and how I can apply them to my own life.
Even if you don’t think you have lived a wild and adventurous life, you will have some wisdom to impart.
So please come forward and offer to speak at upcoming graduations.
I ask because, for upcoming graduation speeches, it would be nice if Tech didn’t scrape out the bargain bin for speakers.