For many students, graduation is the end of the long, arduous journey that is education. For others, it’s a major step toward the wonderful world of post-graduate education and maybe more.
At many schools, graduation is highlighted by a motivational speech from someone brought in for the occasion. These speakers are normally big names. Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford is a famous example. Governor Deal will speak to graduates at Georgia Southern next month.
At VSU, however, the speech will come from Dr. William McKinney, who is neither a co-founder of Apple nor the governor of the state. He is, instead, the president of this fine learning institution.
This action goes along with the long-held VSU tradition of not inviting outside individuals to commencement but rather sticking with those within the VSU sphere of influence.
“It’s better to bring the guest speakers in during the school year and save commencement for what we believe commencement is for,” Thressea Boyd said in a 2011 interview with NextGen Journal.
That’s great. A key part of commencement, however, is the speech intended to motivate graduates and to validate the notion that they all can become successful figures in life, no matter where they are at this point.
We like Dr. McKinney, and we enjoy his speeches. However, we also feel that the graduating students of VSU would be better served with someone different to help these graduates start adult life on the right foot.
All we’re asking for is something different−specifically, a speech different from the traditional speech given by Dr. McKinney.
We’re not asking for President Obama to come down to VSU, nor are we asking for the Dalai Lama. We understand VSU’s limits, and to ask for someone of that stature is most likely an unrealistic idea.
It should be a realistic idea, however, to ask for something other than the traditional McKinney speech and to request a new speaker, someone who can give a fresh perspective on becoming successful after college.