Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama at UM

Well, look what some clever person in the administration managed to do! President Obama is delivering the commencement address here at Michigan this spring. One hopes the additional donations this generates from enthusiastic democrat parents, students and alumni outweigh the donations lost from non-democrat parents, students and alumni plus the cost of all the additional security and such like.

It could be better. At Chicago, where I did my graduate degrees, they get professors who are also good lecturers to deliver a 20-minute mini-lecture about some aspect of their research that is of general interest at commencement. We had law professor Richard Epstein at one of my two graduations, as I recall. No actors, no comedians, no politicians and no pandering. Just the life of the mind. It warms my heart just thinking about it.

It could also be worse. At Washington, where I did my undergraduate degrees, the tradition was to have the president of the university give the commencement address. I think the president when I was there was called Gerberding. I am sure he must have had some exceptional talent for something or other, maybe PR or fund-raising, but he was not particularly talented at either public speaking or economic policy analysis. Nonetheless, the assembled graduating masses (and they are masses at UW) were treated to 30 minutes (or was it an hour, it sure seemed like it) about how "we" should do more to emulate Japanese industrial policy. Ooops.

Hat tip: Angela Wyse (on FB)

Addendum: official UM announcement

1 comment:

don said...

I'm dazzled that you remember Gerberding's speech. I was at that same commencement, and while I remember that he spoke for what felt like several hours, I have no memory of the content of his speech whatsoever.