Tag Archives: commencement

Apply to be the Senior Speaker

Not pictured: Joss Whedon '87, you

Not pictured: Joss Whedon ’87, you

Think your nuggets of wisdom are worthy of sharing the stage with Joss Whedon ’87? Seriously? Laura Yim ’13 challenges you to prove it:

Hey Seniors! What has your Wesleyan experience meant to you?

This is your LAST chance to submit a 200-250 essay to be the Senior Speaker! Your essay should serve as an abstract to to the speech you wish to deliver at graduation. Completed essays should be emailed to Dean Brown (lsbrown@wes) by TOMORROW at 11:59pm.

All essays will be reviewed anonymously by the Senior Commencement Speaker Committee. The committee will select several applicants from the essay submission pool as finalists for interviews, which will be conducted between Wednesday, February 27 through Friday, March 1. The speaker will be announced before spring break.

Contact: lsbrown@wes
Tomorrow at 11:59 p.m.

Note that the deadline is tomorrow, just before midnight. If my timing is correct, yes, that does mean you can drunkenly write the entire thing on your iPhone on the bus back from Senior Cocks. In fact, I strongly encourage it.

Whedon ’87 Declared Commencement Speaker; Fans Collapse in Panting Heap of Euphoria

“Joss Whedon is our commencement speaker! Was so excited when I got the email that I had to stop using the elliptical for a few minutes.”

In a move strategically maneuvered to collapse Wesleyan’s entire Whedonite community in a salivating heap of shock, joy, and euphoric paralysis, President Roth has announced that screenwriter, filmmaker, Buffy creator, Avengers director, ironic Romney supporter, and Wesleyan alumnus Joss Whedon ’87 will deliver the commencement address for the Class of 2013. The news has delighted everyone from Argus Executive Editor Max Brivic ’13, who tweeted that he was “so excited when I got the email that I had to stop using the elliptical for a few minutes,” to Assistant Director of ResLife Stacey Phelps, who expressed something closely resembling excitement on Twitter and fittingly utilized used the hashtag “#yay.” Other reactions in the digital sphere ranged from “I’m going to die” to “#forgetobama” to my personal favorite, “Whatever, still pulling for Bill Nye.” Even members of the dearly departed Class of 2012 are seething with jealousy.

I’ve only been at Wesleyan since 2009, but I think it’s fair to call this the most unanimously excitement-inducing commencement speaker since Barack Obama was tapped to replace Ted Kennedy at Commencement 2008. (Then again, I’m not sure 69,498,516 popular votes can really compare with what I’ve seen of the salivating Cult of Whedonites.) According to President Roth’s email, honorary degrees will be additionally presented to environmental and social justice activist leader Majora Carter ’88 and former Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim Dresser ’63 (yes, the guy that the diamond was named after). You will likely be too busy squealing to hear this take place.

Scenes From the Tent Party: The Heems-Miranda-MGMT Alumni Complex

Q: What’s more Wesleyan than a Commencement Eve Tent Party featuring cameos by Das Racist’s Himanshu “Heems” Suri ’07, playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, and a wedding-style funk cover of “Kids”? A: Probably nothing. We’re late on posting this, but hey, it’s summer, we straight-chillin’.

We don’t have video of Heems dropping a brief verse before flailing around the back of the stage, but we do have a clip of a funkified “Kids,” as performed by Kinky Spigot and the Welders (Lillian Ruiz ’08, Nicole Tirado Strayer ’07, Amanda Facelle ’09, Marlon Bishop ’07, Vlad Gutkovich ’07, Yoni Rabino ’07, Jon Hutchinson ’07, and Tess Amodeo-Vickery ’07). Scroll through the gallery below for a key shot of Heems bonding with Wesleying’s own viral star Kill-F Feinstein ’13.

In semi-related news, Miranda ’02 gave a talk to the Wesleyan Alumni Association. Watch it here.

[nggallery id=151]

Edit: An anonymous commenter writes in, “You forgot about the Party on Fountain girl, who I’m pretty sure stagedived during this song.” Yes! I didn’t spot her, but both A-Batte (via text message) and Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 (via Twitter) mentioned sightings of Molly ’06, the star of “Party on Fountain.” Can someone do a retrospective WesCeleb interview?

Peace Out, 2012!

Bennet ’87 to 2012: “Your generation has so many more opportunities to lead, to make change, than the Class of 1987 ever did.” Also, tear down those walls. Like Reagan. Sort of.

Congratulations, Wesleyan Class of 2012! Now go tear down some walls. Or something.

In case you’ve somehow missed it, a whopping 713 members of the senior class graduated on Andrus Field this morning after remarks by President Michael Roth ’78 (featuring references to WesRave, the ACB, and, err, “hipster pessimism”), a senior class welcome from Kennedy Odede ’12, and a stirring, historically heavy Commencement Address from Senator (and presidential heir) Michael Bennet ’87, who instructed one and all to “bring down those walls” and embrace “some period of public service” as the debt for the privilege of attending Wesleyan. “You will transform American politics for this new age,” said Bennet, “because otherwise it will become as irrelevant as the British parliament in 1776.”  Meanwhile, about halfway through Roth’s speech, a few unidentified students dropped a banner from nearby Clark denouncing ongoing changes to Wesleyan’s need-blind admissions practices. From my vantage point, the silent protest offered a large-scale complement to the “Keep Wes Need Blind” stickers I saw affixed to the shirts of student workers, graduates, alums, and even a few parents all day (more on this later). But what say you?

Seniors, you’ll be missed. But for now, go hug your grandparents. I’ve been driving them around all day on golf carts, and they’re totally psyched. (You can wait until tomorrow, I guess.)

A Graduate’s Thoughts on Michael Bennet

Happy Day-Before-Decoration Day, all. Hopefully those of you recently anointed with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate are too busy avoiding goodbyes (from the awkward anticlimaxes to the drunken and dramatic) to read this post in a timely manner. As for the rest of you…

Wesleying – which has always aspired to be a forum for student voices, controversial and not – presents you with some thoughts on Commencement speaker Michael Bennet ’87 and his record as a Democratic U.S. Senator from Colorado, written by Dan Fischer ‘11.5. (If you’re looking for the full roundup, rest easy – it’s on the way.) Readers might find Dan’s observations interesting, especially in light of Bennet’s comments on the domination of narrow interests in Washington and the need for “disruptive” and “transformative” change in politics and education (click here for a transcript of Bennet’s speech). Feel free to put out your own thoughts in the comments, or in chalk in front of Obama Hill. Without further ado:

Today, Senator Michael Bennet delivered the commencement address. Roth describes him as “a pragmatic and independent thinker who embodies the values of the western state he represents, and whose work has contributed to good in the world”. I decided to do a little research and found that Bennet, as you would expect of a U.S. Senator, has also contributed to a lot of war-mongering, neoliberalization and power-concentration in the world.

Bennet ’87 to Speak at Commencement for ’12


The moment we’ve all been waiting for is in. Michael Bennet ’87 will be this year’s commencement speaker (save the date: May 27).   The announcement isn’t such a huge surprise since Wesleyan seems to like bringing politicians and alumni to commencement, and Hickenlooper Bennet satisfies both criteria.  Artist Glenn Ligon ’82 and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards P’13 will also be receiving honorary degrees.

Bennet graduated with a bachelors in history from Wesleyan, but that’s not his only connection: his father, Douglas Bennet, was President of the university from 1995 to 2007 (Roth’s immediate predecessor).  His official biography can be found after the jump, and stresses his interest in education and America’s youth as a whole.  In relation to past commencement speakers, Wikipedia notes that Bennet advised 2008 speaker Barack Obama on education and was even speculated for the Secretary of Education spot.  Bennet also formerly served as 2010 speaker John Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff.

Tickets will go on sale at 10AM at the Box Office on Thursday, so get your sleeping bags and port-a-potties ready. You might also care to know that Bennet is a co-sponsor of PIPA, so you can always argue with him if you didn’t get a Scalia ticket.

Props to anyone who replied to the email asking who we’re getting for Spring Fling, but direct that towards the Spring Fling Committee.  Here’s the full email itself:

Commencement Address Roundup: Farmer, Franzen, and Beyond

If you missed it, video of Dr. Paul E. Farmer’s commencement address to the Class of 2011 has been online at Wesleyan’s Reunion & Commencement website for the past week or so.

The superlative for Most Blogged About Commencement Address, though, likely goes to novelist Jonathan Franzen, who spoke at Kenyon College in Ohio a few weeks ago. (Kenyon has a recent history of piercing commencement addresses from contemporary literary giants, as any David Foster Wallace fan will attest.)

More recently, Franzen’s fantastic speech was adapted as a New York Times op-ed, “Liking Is For Cowards. Go For What Hurts.” Yes, that kind of liking: Franzen casts insight on the troubled links between technology, commercial culture, and looooove, yet approaches the topic in prose far more lyrical than your generic 2009-era features piece about The Kids These Days and their Twittering Facebook Exploits. Franzen’s conclusion falls in favor of commitment to “real danger” that comes from “real relation to real people”–because “being perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships.”

For an excerpt:

To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.

Farmers Market Sandwiches!

The cool cats that run the awesome possum farmer’s market sandwiches are making an explosive exit! NOMNOMNOM

Come one come all for the last of the year Farmer’s Market Sandwiches!

This week, the Commencement Special:

Beet Tzatziki, Lemony White Beans, Feta and Fennel all on Howard’s Baugette.

Bring yourself, bring your friends, bring your families.

And don’t be late.

Will and Damiano

Date:   May 20
Time:   Noon – 2:00 PM
Place:  Beckham Hall
Cost:   $8