Speaker: Love remedy to “zombies

In what was probably one of the more unique speeches in the 48-year history of the Honors Convocation, students, professors and guests listened to what the world would be like with zombies.

Chancellor Victor Boschini said Jimmy Hopper, who graduated in the fall of 2009, delivered a speech with an amusing name but one with a message that was just what people needed to hear.

Hopper’s speech made light of how students spend their leisure time playing an Internet game called “Zombies” instead of studying. He admitted to his parents that he also wasted time playing the Facebook game instead of focusing on his schoolwork.

Hopper said the inspiration for his speech came when his friends were making lists of the Top-10 people they would want to have with them during the zombie apocalypse. Boschini, he said, was on the short list because of his money-raising skills.

“Zombie wars are expensive,” he said. “I’ll need someone who can raise the funds.”

Fundraisers, sharp-shooters and skilled survivors filled his team of zombie killers, Hopper said. The one glaring omission were the people he loved.

The omission of love and the addition of need and desire are quickly becoming running themes with his impatient generation, Hopper said. A generation that had the highest percentage of college graduates compared to any past generation.

“Love is messy and always flies in the way of human expectations,” he said. “Too many of us wouldn’t forgo dishonesty if it were to really cost us.”

However, if the ‘millennial generation’ is going to reach its full potential, Hopper said, it will have to get rid of its sense of entitlement and focus more on love, the true theme of his speech.

Millennials are already facing real-life zombies in the form of terrorism, the economy and religious strife. To face down these zombies, he said, millennials are going to need to learn from the greatest generation, a term coined by Tom Brokaw to describe the generation that lived through the depression and fought through World War II.

“The greatest generation accomplished its goals because they had a sense of duty, not entitlement,” Hopper said.

If we’re going to learn, we need to focus on community prosperity in order to kill our real zombies, he said.

“What are we really accomplishing without considering the human element?” Hopper said. “If we focus on love, we can transcend our expectations.”

Hopper won the privilege to speak at the convocation, Boschini said.

“We were looking for someone intelligent and charismatic,” he said.

Hopper said he was nervous when he realized he won the competition and would have to deliver his speech.

“I threw something together last minute for the audition,” he said. “So, therefore, when I realized I actually had to give the speech, it was a bit of an ‘oh crap’ moment.”

Jordan Taylor, a senior history and German major, said he enjoyed the speech and it showed millennials have a lot to work on.

“I was curious about the direction he would take, but I thought he tied it together real well,” he said. “I think it really speaks to what our generation needs to do to rise up and meet our potential.”