Tag: commencement speakers

John Waters Gives the Best Graduation Speech

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John Waters Remakes Pink Flamingos for Children

We’ve had some excellent commencement speakers visiting Baltimore over the past few weeks (and past few years). But no one is quite like John Waters.

MICA Announces Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients

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The Maryland Institute College of Art commencement takes place two weeks from today. As you might expect from a world-class art institution, MICA has enlisted an admirable group of artists, critics, historians, and general geniuses to be on hand for the event.

Johns Hopkins Snags More Bigwigs for Commencement Speakers

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As we previously noted, Johns Hopkins University undergraduates will be feted this year by Pixar president Ed Catmull (hence this very fun commencement speaker announcement). But all of Hopkins’s other schools and departments, including the Carey Business School, have their own commencement exercises–which means they get their own speakers, too.

Best Commencement Speaker Announcement Ever

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Johns Hopkins University announced their commencement speaker yesterday. Usually these things happen in the form of a press release or email blast. But this announcement was… different.

YouTube CEO’s Johns Hopkins Commencement Speech Makes a Splash

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The Huffington Post listed YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s graduation speech at Johns Hopkins as one of the “13 inspiring, important” addresses by female commencement speakers. Others on the list included Jill Abramson, Billie Jean King, and Michelle Obama. Watch Wojcicki’s full speech here.

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Who’s Speaking at Local Graduations?

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I love commencement season — not just because of the caps and gowns and excitement in the air, but also because it’s the time of year when local universities bring famous (or, well, semi-famous) folks to town to deliver the commencement address. While none of the speakers announced so far rivals Ira Glass (who spoke at Goucher in 2012), they make for an intriguing mix:

Johns Hopkins: Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. Why this is cool: She’ll be just the fifth woman to serve as Johns Hopkins’ graduation speaker since 1974.

Stevenson: ABC News Anchor Byron Pitts, who you may recognize from his reporting appearances on Good Morning America, Nightline, and 20/20. Or from Morgan State’s 2013 commencement speech. Why this is cool: He’s a native Baltimorean!

YouTube CEO to Speak at Johns Hopkins Graduation

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I am grateful to Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, for the sneezing panda, and Maru, and David after dentist. And now I’m grateful that Wojcicki will be coming to Baltimore to deliver Johns Hopkins’ commencement address on May 22. She will be just the fifth woman to serve as commencement speaker since 1974.

Friends School Alum Jason Winer, Director of “Modern Family,” To Deliver Graduation Address at His Alma Mater

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Courtesy Deadline.
Jason Winer. Photo courtesy Deadline.

Jason Winer, the Emmy Award-winning director of ABC-TV’s “Modern Family,” will deliver the keynote address to the Friends School Class of 2013 at its Commencement exercises on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to Friends School as the 2013 Commencement speaker. It is surreal,” says Winer, a 1990 graduate of Friends. “I still remember my own graduation walk from the [Stony Run] Meeting House to the Upper School 23 years ago. Being asked to return in this capacity is such an honor and it really makes it seem like I have accomplished something with those 23 years.”

Named  one of Daily Variety’s 2011 “10 Directors to Watch,” Winer served as the producing director on “Modern Family’s” first season and during his collaboration with the show has received an Emmy Award (2010), three Peabody Awards (Excellence in Television: 2009, 2010, 2011), two Producers Guild of America Awards (2011, 2012), and an American Film Institute Award. He has now directed 18 episodes of the hit comedy since the show began and was a 2012 Emmy nominee for “Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series” for his episode, “Virgin Territory.” He made his feature film directorial debut in 2011 with “Arthur,” starring Russell Brand and Helen Mirren.

Let’s Hope This Guy Doesn’t Say Anything Controversial in the Next Month

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As we previously reported, Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson voluntarily stepped down from serving as commencement speaker for the Johns Hopkins’ Schools of Medicine and Education after students objected to his widely-publicized comments equating homosexuality with bestiality. The School of Education announced last week that it would replace Carson with the ever-popular Wes Moore, and yesterday the School of Medicine announced its last-minute graduation speaker replacement:  biophysicist Jon Lorsch.

Ira Glass’s Commencement Speech: On Virginity, Being Poor, and Feeling Lost

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True to form, Ira Glass began his commencement speech at Goucher College last week by insulting the very existence of commencement speeches. They’re “cloying and impossible,” full of stock advice; in fact, Glass said, he “oppose[s] on principle any commencement speech.” In the video (available here) of the speech, you can see Goucher students smiling up at Glass, wondering where he’s going to take this next.

And then the host of NPR’s This American Life started talking about how he lost his virginity… in one of those dorms just over there. The students erupted in gleeful, shocked laughter, and the things we all already knew — that  Glass knows how to shape a story, and how to keep listeners on their toes — became  apparent. Honestly, it was just a great speech:  Glass managed to hit that commencement speech sweet spot of being both poignant and irreverent. He told stories about feeling lost and poor in his twenties and thirties, when his parents (“possibly the only Jews who didn’t listen to public radio”) kept gently suggesting he consider a career change. He told parents to readjust their ideas of what they want their kids to be — and told students to be kind to their parents while this is happening (“There are things I said to my parents in my twenties that I still regret,” he cautioned. “As your parents catch up to you… don’t be a dick.”) He talked about being a terrible writer, and about the many years he spent making under $20,000 a year.

In short, it’s not one of those rousing, vague, “You can do anything, you are the future” sermons, but more like seventeen minutes of listening to a smart, honest man look back on his own life — and also the amazing life of his grandmother, a Goucher grad from way back. Worth a listen.

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