A prime minister, an author, a fake commentator
February 1, 2008
__College announces list of potential ’08 grad speakers__
The student committee for selecting a commencement speaker listed J.K. Rowling, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Stephen Colbert as its top three choices for the College’s 2008 commencement speaker, according to committee chair and Senior Class President Nick Faulkner ’08.
p. Faullkner could not reveal who else was being considered, but he said that the rumors that Sam Sadler would be the 2008 Commencement speaker were unconfirmed.
p. The committee’s formal report explained the rationale behind its choices.
p. “From her humble background, we feel that [Rowling] would best exemplify what the College of William and Mary looks for in its students: hard work, dedication, creativity and a willingness to succeed.”
p. The committee praised Blair for his involvement in the Labor Party’s rise to power and his role in leading reform in the U.K.
“Regardless of students’ opinions of him, we feel that he would be fascinating as a leader of one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world,” the report said.
p. “The general consensus among the Student Commencement Selection Committee was that Colbert would provide a humorous and memorable speech, however it would be lacking in substance,” the student committee report said. “Nevertheless, Mr. Colbert would create a sensation on campus much like Mr. Stewart did a few years ago.”
p. According to the Daily Princetonian, Colbert is already slated to give a Commencement speech at Princeton University, and The Boston Globe has reported that Rowling will be Harvard University’s Commencement speaker.
p. However, Faulkner said he had heard rumors that one of the three picks had already agreed to come.
p. Each year’s Commencement speaker is chosen by the Board of Visitors and based on recommendations by a student committee and a faculty committee. The student committee is composed of seniors, graduate students and recent alumni. In an e-mail, Faulkner explained the process for selecting a Commencement speaker.
p. First, the student committee compiles a list of 10 possible speakers.
p. “We picked 10 individuals who we thought would deliver the best Commencement speech and who would be able to relate to the students the most,” Faulkner said.
p. He admitted that he wasn’t sure how much influence the students’ recommendations had.
p. This list is then sent to the faculty committee, which proceeds to edit and add to the list before sending it on to the Board of Directors. The board reviews both committees’ recommendations before making the final decision.
p. The official decision for commencement speaker will be released later in the spring semester. Last year, the BOV announced its decision March 30 to bring Robert Gates ’65 to speak at graduation.