SHU should stop slacking, show effort in choosing 2016 Commencement speaker

The University has once again made the decision to have student speakers at Commencement instead of a featured guest keynote speaker.

In the past, the University has featured speakers such as N.J. Gov. Chris Christie in 2011, executive director of Raise Hope Foundation Scott Chesney in 2012 and Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions Hadley P. Arkes of Amherst College in 2013.

The last featured keynote speaker at Commencement was Mary Eberstadt in 2014, an author and senior fellow at a conservative think tank in Washington D.C. Following her selection, some community members expressed concern over her beliefs.

According to the University, student speakers are more “meaningful” and there has been positive feedback from the change. This is just not the case. A second year in the row without a keynote speaker displays carelessness on the part of the University. A speech by an experienced guest with advice for
the soon-to-be alums of the class of 2016 would add more meaning to graduation.

Student speakers are meaningful to their peers and families, but how can just a couple of students represent an entire grade? Everyone has a story, and although we’re leaving Seton Hall with different diplomas, GPAs and experiences,we have all had our own journeys. It is impossible to determine if one or two students are more important than 1,000 others.

The best solution would be to have a guest speaker. An experienced keynote speaker knows what’s on the other side and therefore has more to offer graduating seniors. Commencement speakers throughout history have warned, guided and encouraged students to go forth into adulthood and seize the future. Without a speaker, students will listen to peers who are basically in the exact same boat as

The graduating seniors have worked hard for four years leading up to this ceremony. When they finally step on stage to get their diplomas and turn their tassels, they deserve a ceremony that reflects a similar effort. The least the University can do after countless hours of studying and thousands of tuition dollars is provide a speaker, anyone, even as a symbolic ceremonial gesture to the students. The absence of a speaker is carelessly lazy, and the class of 2016 deserves better.

Author: Editorial Board

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  1. Please get a speaker for graduation 2016! Having student speakers is very cheap, boring and lazy! We pay enough in tuition so I think we can afford an actual meaningful speaker! Having a student is not meaningful in my eyes maybe for highschool but not my college graduation!!!! Please get a speaker!

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  2. Really Seton Hall – I am flying from California for a student Speaker. The graduating class deserves better.

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  3. Honestly, who really cares? I don’t need someone to advise me on “what’s on the other side.” The beauty of life is the unknowing and learning as you go. So what value is there in just having another person tell us about their experiences when our own are what’s really important? Personally I could care less if we have any speakers. But I’d rather listen to a fellow student than some “professional” who thinks they know what’s best for us when, in reality, they have no idea.

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  4. As a parent who will be traveling from the west coast for graduation, I find this lack of thoughtful planning very disappointing. Considering that South Orange is part of the largest metropolitan area in the country, I find it hard to believe that an inspiring and appropriate speaker cannot be found. Really? We are very proud of our son and all that he has accomplished. He has grown tremendously on the campus of Seton Hall. The class of 2016 deserves a better celebration and send off. This is comparable to a high school graduation! SHU needs to get past being a Jersey commuter school. Seton Hall is better than this!

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  5. A student speaker, really? The last thing graduating seniors and graduate students need is another pretentious classmate of theirs repeating the same recycled, idealistic garbage that their high school valedictorians and salutatorians gave. The NY-metro area is bustling with incredibly successful and influential people in the public and private sector. I am sure someone in the city would love to speak to the 2016 graduates. But please, just pick somebody other than a student. I don’t want to waste half of my day sitting through a 21-year old quote a former president or what he or she has to say about “the real world.”

    I understand this is an older article, but it is an important issue. Send these kids off with real inspiration, not a Facebook post turned speech.

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