Chancellor: No need for commencement keynote

Many graduates will bid farewell to their alma mater on May 9, but not before a few final remarks from the man upstairs — on the third floor of Sadler Hall, that is. Chancellor Victor Boschini said because the ceremony’s focus will be on the graduates, it will not host a keynote speaker.

“The focus of the ceremony ought to be on the graduates, not on the speakers,” he said.

Boschini said he has been at the university for 12 commencements and thinks the number of times the university has not had a commencement speaker outnumbers the times there has been a commencement speaker.

“Sometimes the university hires a speaker but not all times and not often,” Boschini said. “Whether or not a speaker is hired is dependent upon whether the opportunity presents itself, and this year it did not.”

Margaret Kelly, executive director of community projects, said that if there is going to be an outside speaker, it is the chancellor who generally asks someone to speak.

Kelly said Boschini will give his remarks to graduates at the morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies, and the only other speaker is Chris Curtis, the president of the National Alumni Association.

Commencement Ceremonies
When: Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Boschini said he had worked at seven schools, some of which never have commencement speakers and some that always have commencement speakers.

“There are 3,500 colleges in America, and you can probably find it done 2,500 different ways,” he said.

Kelly said she has never heard any complaints about Boschini’s public addresses.

“He is very entertaining as a speaker,” she said.

Brian Kym, a senior finance major, said his ideal speaker at graduation is someone who can send graduates off excited about life’s ambitions rather than learning about someone’s career path, but the chancellor wouldn’t be his top choice.

“When I think about a graduation speaker, the first person that comes to mind is not the chancellor, but he is someone who is highly respected in this community, who also takes time to know this university’s students, something that definitely qualifies him to send graduates into the world,” Kym said.