Tag Archives: Commencement speeches

Pomp, Circumstance and Some Words in Between

Tis the season when new graduates of all shapes and sizes will enter the world. Some will enter the workforce and start the task of paying off student loans that are in some cases way more than what their incomes of their chosen fields will cover. Others will continue adding to those student loans by going to graduate school or culinary school or any other thing with school in the title to delay the clock on paying off those student loans.

For others this is the time to graduate from high school and start the journey to college and the accumulation of those aforementioned student loans.

Although it is season for commencement addresses for some reason no one asked me to give a a speech to any graduating classes this year.

Of course truth be told that has been the case for many years but that is certainly not for lack of trying on my part.

It is the time of year where students of all ages will be sporting graduation bling like this medal. Photo R. Anderson

It is the time of year where students of all ages will be sporting graduation bling like this medal.
Photo R. Anderson

Ever since my high school graduation I have thought that it would be nice to help send a graduating class off into uncharted waters armed with my words of wisdom and encouragement.

Commencement speakers hold a special place in the memories of graduates and I have wanted to add my name to that fraternity of memorable speakers.

Why I remember my commencement speaker in college just like it was yesterday. I mean, I remember what he looked like, and some of what he said. I am sure if I dug up my commencement program I could find his name.

So I wanted to be that person that students look back on with fond memories of inspirational words.

During my career working at a college I attended many graduations. I served as the official photographer for several of them. I even attended graduations inside a state prison which I must say is a rather interesting occurrence as one might expect. Still despite my waiting in the bullpen to step up if the speaker had to cancel for illness or inability to fit into their gown my number was never called.

In the event that my number was called I envision a typical conversation of people reflecting on those inspirational words going something like this.

Chad: Boy, that was such a good speech that old what’s his name gave at our graduation.

Tad: We had a speaker at our graduation?

Okay, so the commencement speaker is not remembered by everyone. I think part of that has to do with graduation caps cutting off blood flow to the brain. I have no proof of this, but it is a pretty logical explanation if you ask me.

Once one graduates from college they are often bombarded with requests to "give back" to their alma mater's annual fundraising campaigns. A small price to pay for a diploma I suppose. Photo R. Anderson

Once one graduates from college they are often bombarded with requests to “give back” to their alma mater’s annual fundraising campaigns. A small price to pay for a diploma I suppose.
Photo R. Anderson

Still, despite the short term memories of graduates, I thought for sure that this would be the year that I would get the call to share my insights with graduating seniors. Speaking at my alma mater’s graduation was ruled out this year when President Bill Clinton accepted the gig but surely there were other colleges that needed a speaker who would work for an honorary degree and sugar cookies.

Alas the phone did not ring and I was left with a speech and no audience to hear it.

No worries though I will just share a version of my remarks dedicated for pomp and circumstance here. Of course, this is the abridged non sugar cookie and honorary degree version. I need to leave something out just in case I get called to the big time.

So without further adieu here goes.

Students you are to be commended for your efforts in reaching this momentous occasion of (high school, college, preschool) graduation.

Looking out at all of your caps and gowns I am reminded how silly people look in caps and gowns. I mean seriously who came up with the idea of dressing up like Supreme Court justices as a way to commemorate graduation?

This day marks the end of one chapter of your life and the beginning of another chapter.

Hopefully the next chapter will not be like the last chapter of a John Grisham book though. I mean is it just me or does he totally lose steam in the closing chapters of all of his books and sort of just phones in the ending?

Enough about John Grisham and his limp final chapters. You have the whole world at your fingertips and it is finger lickin’ good.

Now is the time of your lives where you can have experiences that will last a lifetime.

Don’t be afraid to step out on limbs occasionally and try new things. While the limbs will sometimes break, they will usually just bend.

Never say, “I’ll never go to Graduate School so it doesn’t matter what my GPA is.” Graduate School shows up when you least expect it and yes they do care about grade point average.

So hats off to the graduating class of (insert year and school name).

In conclusion remember that life is a highway and you want to ride it all night long. No wait, those are the lyrics to a really bad song.

Let me try again. Life is like a box of chocolates…no that isn’t quite right either.

Anyway, in conclusion, I guess it is good that no one asked me to give a commencement address this year.

I will be ready next year though so be sure to book my services early.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a speech to write and sugar cookies to eat.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson