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May 17th, 2009
08:02 AM ET

Do You Remember?

This morning we were all sitting around our desks in the newsroom talking about the controversy surrounding President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame. TJ asked, does anyone remember who spoke at their college graduation? Both TJ and Betty did not remember. Our Executive Producer Tenisha Abernathy remembered because she said her friend’s father gave the commencement address, former Surgeon General David Satcher. One of our producers Deanna Siste graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison spoke at her graduation. I graduated from Arizona State University. I have no clue who spoke that day years ago. Interesting enough, President Obama gave the commencement address at my alma mater this year. Anyway, needless to say we liked the topic so much it became our Facebook topic this morning.

Here are some other questions to think about... do we not remember because the speaker was not very memorable? Or were we just so happy to graduate it didn’t really matter? I think it was a little bit of both.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Betty

    I don't remember who spoke at my college commencement, however concerning the Notre Dame controversy...I do NOT think our president should speak there today...THEY DON'T DESERVE TO HAVE HIM! Talk about closed-minded people! Yes, I'm a Catholic, and yes, I am embarrassed about all of this.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  2. Karen

    33 years ago I graduated from Columbia College Chicago and our graduation speaker was the late John Hammond who was a music critic and talent scout for Columbia Records. He signed Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen among others. He was a very unassuming man who had such a huge impact on American music. I had never heard of him until that day but I've never forgotten him.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  3. Tony

    I just want to know where the reporters and the and Notre Dame were when Bush murdered thousands of American full grown soldiers in
    Iraq. The anti-abortion activists (I am not an activist, but would not support an abortion of my child.) have been allowed to hijack the media for their benefit, but when it matters TO ALL OF THE COUNTRY, the media was silent.
    Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell and a very long list of people illegally started a war and thousands of innocent men, women and children continue to die from their activity.
    Report the truth, please.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:30 am |
  4. Jaison K.

    This is a trajedy, how can a man who's for partial birth abortion (not even Hillary Clinton would in her right mind condone 'partial-birth abortion'). The students have a right to protest against conflicting viewpoints, it is a conflict of interest and an embarrassment to the Catholic values. People ought to wake up and realize what he stands for and is pushing for (first time in American history). Yes, I do remember who spoke at my graduation and it was not a (marxist, tyrannical socialist who's for killing the innocent life of a child). This is an abomination and an insult to many, it doesnt matter who is the speaker...their views and belief should go along w/ the values of the university its faith based foundation.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  5. Jim

    What's the big deal with Obama and Notre Dame?! Good 'ole Dubya spoke to Notre Dame grads in 2001.

    It always baffles me when I hear of Christians who are pro-life and pro-death penalty. I think Jesus would find them to be hypocrites. And for the record, Hypocrisy is the worst of all sins, as Jesus teaches. That means worse than murder, worse than rape, worse than child murder and rape.

    Well it has been said, "The greatest single cause of atheism, is Christians..."

    Notre Dame is killing unicorns.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  6. RJ


    Terrence J Roberts, a member of the "Little Rock Nine", was the commencement speaker at the U of A's 1999 commencement.


    May 17, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  7. B. Ayers

    I think that obama has inspiring words and has the ability to use influensive and persuasive speech to entertain the mass. I dont exaclty remember who spoke at my graduation, after all those years of college I was just too excited about getting the show over with. I do think that in this situation it does matter who speaks because of the institution and the basis of its religious principles should not be overlooked, that fatih based values and institutions which many of the university's first founded on early in our nation's i.e harvard, princeton, notre dame,etc. have principles and a legacy that should not be forgotten or overlooked.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  8. Nicole

    Robert MacNeil from the The MacNeil/Lehrer Report . He was raised in Halifax and I graduated from a school with a well-known Journalism Program. He was a good speaker but I honestly don't remember much. The ceremony (which was done partly in Latin, with lots of speeches, hymns and prayers) was long as had been the night before...not for the same reason

    May 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  9. Spencer Browne

    I graduated in 1998 from Howard University and our commencement speaker was Hillary Clinton, she was memorable but even more so in the following months with the Lewinsky scandal coming to the surface.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  10. Linda Stansfield

    I don't know who the guest speaker was at the U of A graduation in 1999 was, but I can identify the speaker at the U of A graduation in 1969: Howard K. Smith, the ABC news anchor. i don't remember what he said, but I do remember being impressed by his celebrity at that time. Thanks for bring up that happy, if not somewhat harried, time in my life.

    Linda Stansfield
    Flippin, Arkansas

    May 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  11. michael armstrong sr.

    I think all this protesting by the catholics about the presidents visit is disrespect full to the students hard work of getting to this most important day of there life all there doing is disrespecting there church.

    May 17, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  12. Rodilard

    T.J. I believe Mr. Kirk Pond, spoke at your graduation ceremony in 1999 at UA. I'm not 100% sure, but you can always check the Daly Headlines of The University. Have a Nice week-end

    May 17, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  13. Rodilard

    Hi Tj,
    I think former US Senator and ex-Arkansas Gov. Dale Bumpers was scheduled to speak along with Frederick W. Smith on May 8 1999 at the University of Arkansas graduation ceremony.
    You can contact Mari Serebrov, the University Relations Person, to verify this information at 501 575-5555 (if the phone number is still in service, of course). I have to recognize that many others took the stage that day, among them: Myra McLarey (spoke at J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences commencement) W. Barger Tygart (spoke at the Sam M. Walton College of Business Administration), Dennis Jones (spoke at School of Architecture commencement), Blanche Lincoln (College of Education and Health Professions), Kirk P. Pond (spoke at the Bud Walton Arena).
    William R. Wilson Jr. (spoke at the Law School commencement on May 15).
    So, now you have to determine who spoke at your gradutaion. But, remind yourself that the main speaker was Mr. Dale Bumpers. He spoke at the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.
    I hope that these datas will help you find peace and put to rest any "guilt" that you might have felt for not remembering "your" graduation's keynote speaker. (I'm just kidding, my friend . Keep up the great job that you're doing on CNN)
    PS: Please, forgive my English because my primary language is French. Ce n'est pas une excuse pour ne pas bien écrire l'anglais. Loin s'en faut !

    May 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm |

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