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Airing of Grievances: Whomst is our commencement speaker?!?!

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Airing of Grievances: Whomst is our commencement speaker?!?!

Margaux Armfield | Art Director

Margaux Armfield | Art Director

Margaux Armfield | Art Director

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Dear Tulane administration and whoever else is responsible for booking the 2018 commencement speaker,

Let me cut to the chase – what in the heck is going on? In recent memory, Tulane’s commencement speaker has always been announced by early March AT THE LATEST. It is now mid-April and we have no updates, which means all of us are sitting around twiddling our thumbs, reminiscing on past speakers and gradually lowering our standards for who an acceptable speaker would be.

The truth of the matter is that the Class of 2018 deserves nothing short of the best. We are the class that brought you Jesse McCartney, T-Pain, Sam Levin, probably some okay athletes, not to mention THE Mike Fitts. And we know Tulane can deliver the goods. Need I remind you of the 2017 commencement when DAME Helen Mirren graced the Superdome stage with her infinite wisdom, or the 2015 commencement when Maya Rudolph made us proud to be Americans?

And yes, I’m skipping 2016’s Hoda Kotb but she, too, is at least semi-famous! In 2013, Tulane had His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama – and that’s his real life name!

Look – we have worked hard on our liberal arts educations for four years. We’ve read your Views from Gibson, we’ve stomached Zagat-rated™ Bruff Commons, we’ve lived in your mold-infested residence halls, we’ve tolerated weird rules and followed silly procedures and allowed our hair and sweat glands to be permanently damaged by our humidity-ridden walks to class every day for four years. We’ve done all this, all the while thinking that at the end of the tunnel, we’d have some sort of payoff, some celebrity – any celebrity – to pat us on the backs and tell us it was all worth it.

We need to be able to look up to the stage in May and be able to know that four years of filling our souls with watered down coffee on weeknights and watered down vodka sodas on weekends was worth it. We need to be able to have our parents, many of whom are flying in from across the country, be able to look to that stage and assure themselves that taking out a second mortgage on the house to pay for our private educations was worth it. We need to be able to send YouTube videos of our commencement to our friends from high school and have them say, “WOW Tulane is awesome and way better than this state school I went to that you almost went to but thsought you were too good for!”

We ask – nay, demand – that you tell us who our commencement speaker is and that it be someone amazingly wonderful and hilarious and famous. We’re not asking for much, just an A-list celeb who is inspirational and relatable and funny and who can tell us they didn’t go to college but that they’re proud of us for graduating.

And if you’re thinking of having anyone who is currently or has previously been employed by Tulane, or who lives within a two mile radius of campus (read: any of the Mannings), then please plan on opening a Boot tab the morning of graduation and accounting for the Class of 2018’s and all of our family’s first round of pre-commencement drinks in the Only the Audacious budget.

Thank you for your consideration,

A Senior Who Needs Answers

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9 Responses to “Airing of Grievances: Whomst is our commencement speaker?!?!”

  1. Probably an ok athlete advocate on April 15th, 2018 7:17 pm

    I found your little throwaway “probably some ok athletes” line to miss the mark, and pretty badly too. I’m merely a (lifelong) Tulane fan and football season ticket holder. How do you think those probably okay athletes feel about having their accomplishments diminished by a halfhearted stab at informal tone? I’d rethink that. One of those probably ok athletes is about to make a lot of money and give our university a lot of publicity in the NFL. No big deal, right? Does that sound probably ok to you?

  2. Jane Hawthorne on April 15th, 2018 8:56 pm

    This is the best piece I’ve read in two years. Bravo to whomst-ever wrote it!

  3. Joseph S Centanni on April 16th, 2018 8:20 am

    I understand your frustration; I will say that 1st.
    Now, I will say that you are whining because you want something to brag about (some celebrity you can instagram and tweet). You make Tulane some beneath you and like a chore to have attended. Perhaps you should be more willing to brag about you four years at such a hallowed institution. My hope is that you have dealt with all this trouble and hard times at Tulane; while everyone else was eating up the culture and knowledge afforded by New Orleans, Tulane and all Louisiana has to offer. Be proud of yourself, be proud of your school, be proud of your fellow graduates. You don’t need someone “famous” to tell you that you did well and should be proud or to validate your parents sacrifice to help you do it. You parents, friends and professors will be more than happy to tell you how far you have gone and how much you have accomplished.
    You don’t need to see someone famous and have something to tweet; if you need that then perhaps Tulane did not provide for you as it has me and so many before. Frankly this whole thing comes of rather whiny. Please give Tulane a break. The things you speak of as trials (bruff, Gibson, etc) strike me as some of the best memories of my life.
    Please consider putting down instagram, twitter and facebook; put your phone away and look around you at the amazing institution that is your Alma Mater, Tulane University.

  4. Dawn Baillie on April 26th, 2018 2:34 pm

    Dear Joe, I strongly disagree. Tulane deserves no breaks. A degree came with a hefty, hefty price tag. Yes, Tulane is amazing. That is why it was a privilege to be accepted and every kid worked their butts off to get in the door. They deserve an awesome graduation speaker. Not an academic (they want a break from all that) or someone that does not resonate with the majority. An amazing institution deserves an equally amazing commencement speaker. Don’t use Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook as your excuse why the students don’t deserve the likes of Tulane’s prior speakers. Just acknowledge their disappointment without trying to rationalize. Listen to them without putting them down. Tulane messed up and it is very unfortunate for the Class of 2018.

  5. Julia McNamee on April 16th, 2018 11:55 am

    This was hilarious, and I am guessing some of the commenters are not really getting that it was tongue-in-cheek. Thanks for making me laugh out loud. Personally, I hope they get you the Pope.

  6. current student on April 18th, 2018 9:10 am

    Yeah, with all this waiting and putting off, their last name better start with an O- is all I’m sayin’!

  7. tom on April 19th, 2018 3:47 pm

    u are a little basic baby!!!!!

  8. Dr. Law on April 23rd, 2018 7:56 am

    Funny stuff. In all seriousness when the HECK are they going to announce? They are over a month late from their advertised announcement date and graduation is almost upon us. The drama! 🙂

  9. Dr. Law on April 26th, 2018 3:21 pm

    OK, the truth is worse than envisioned….. Seriously an Associate Professor? Wow, way to go on the cheap Tulane.

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Airing of Grievances: Whomst is our commencement speaker?!?!