The Perils Of Giving a Commencement Speech

By Alex Weprin 

This is commencement season, when colleges and universities across the nation graduate their seniors and send them off into the real world. TV news personalities are often called upon to deliver commencement speeches, as we have covered here.

Last weekend Ann Curry from NBC News’ “Today” delivered the speech at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts (Go Lyons!). It was a fine speech, telling the students to use their energy and enthusiasm to do good in the world.

She also listed off some of the many fine alumni of the institution, including the reverend Billy Graham and former Republican House speaker Dennis Hastert. Except of course, they did not go to Wheaton College in Massachusetts (which was all-women until 1988) but rather Wheaton College, the Christian University in Illinois.

She did get one famous graduate correct however, “60 Minutes” anchor Lesley Stahl. “Thank goodness I got Lesley Stahl right,” wrote Curry in a letter to the Wheaton community following her address.

I am mortified by my mistake, and can only hope the purity of my motive, to find a way to connect with the graduates and to encourage them to a life of service, will allow you to forgive me.

Its alright Ann, the kids were probably too hungover to remember anyway.

Video of the speech is after the jump.

(h/t Inside Higher Ed)

Wheaton College 175th Commencement from Lisa Nelson on Vimeo.