Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No commencement speaker for fourth year

President Barack Obama, Steve Carell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Mitt Romney and Soledad O’Brien all have one thing in common—all are lined up to address college graduates across the nation at commencement ceremonies in the coming weeks.

Birmingham native Rice will take the stage at Southern Methodist University, while President Obama will address students at the small Barnard College in New York.

Remember elementary-school staple Bill Nye the Science Guy? He’ll be speaking at Harvey Mudd College.

The University of Alabama is not without its own impressive list of commencement speakers: UA graduate and actress Sela Ward addressed students in 2005, and in previous years U.S. ambassadors, business leaders and renowned administrators spoke.

But in 2007, when former EBSCO president of the board James T. Stephens took the stage and began talking about the nation’s involvement in the Iraq war, students booed him off the stage mid-speech.

UA grads haven’t heard a commencement speaker since.

Some students, though, feel that a college graduation ceremony is the perfect time to hear from a respected individual they might not have the chance to encounter otherwise.

Vanna White, a senior who will graduate next December, said she believes it is time UA reinstated commencement speakers, as they add prestige to the ceremonies.

“I would love to have one, personally,” White said. “I think it would be an honor to not only receive a diploma from one of the most respected universities, but to have it be given by a respected speaker.”

College students at some schools conduct write-in campaigns to attract speakers, an option senior Cassie Feres thinks the University should embrace.

“Students should have the choice. We have paid our way the last four years,” Feres said in regards to student involvement. “Other than the University giving us our diploma, give us some celebrity action over here. I think students would love to hear the words of a celebrity, especially one who may have come far on graduation day.”

For senior political science major Jared Cornutt, listening to wise words from an established figure might be the perfect way to end his collegiate career.

“I personally would love to have a prominent, well-known speaker come visit us at graduation,” Cornutt said. “I believe someone who has experienced success in life would be a great way to leave the Capstone and offer good advice as we enter the work world.”

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