Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pomp & Circumstance

I witnessed both pomp & interesting circumstances yesterday at the commencement exercises for the FSU class of 2008. Our daughter-in-law-to-be received her specialist degree. She got to wear the doctoral robe and all that special gear and I loved it. My mom graduated from FSU in 1949 and when we celebrated our daughter’s graduation with a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree from FSU it was very special. My dad also earned 2 degrees from FSU. So there’s some history and sentiment here.

It was with dismay that I listened to the commencement speaker’s address. He got my attention when early into his remarks he brought up “The Audacity of Hope”. I wishfully anticipated that he was going to build on a beautiful concept and address the graduates on the power of faith and hope. Instead, he started a rapid downhill slide when he used the platform to plug his political candidate. He did ask one thought-provoking question: “What are you going to do with rejection in your life?” Unfortunately, he didn’t take the opportunity to instruct or encourage.

I was sad for the graduates who deserved all the honor, encouragement and respect on that special day. I have now added to my list of “books I want to write” one based on basic speaker protocol. As a speaker, I came away with a starter list of cardinal rules to incorporate into the book:

  • Always honor the time limitations set by the program planner. It is extremely rude to thumb your nose at the clock.

  • Your audience is your reason for being there. It is not about you. It is an opportunity to speak into their lives, not a platform to glorify yourself.

  • It is an honor to be a speaker, not a right. Respect for the audience is essential. It's insolence when you don’t display that.

  • Hats off to the largest graduating class in the history of this wonderful college!
    Nothing can mar the victory of your remarkable accomplishment.

    (I’m tempted to send this review to the University president. Should I do it?)


    Anonymous said...

    You should definately send in your opinion! I despise most commencement speaches for exactly that reason. I didn't walk for undergrad, but I'm pretty sure I slept through my grad school graduation. They sadly miss the point so many times.

    Uncommon Blonde said...

    Very well said! I like the concept of "the audacity of hope" maybe you should steal that cncept and do it justice. You should send this in, sounds like he was a dud.

    Anonymous said...

    HI Bev, I didn't know you were a speaker! I would love to hear more about that sometime. If the graduation situation bothered you very much, then perhaps you should write a letter to the president. It might carry some weight especially since you have such a history with the university.

    Linda said...

    I think you should send it in because you don't sound like you are ranting or have a political axe to grind, just a well-articulated point or two. Send it! Write the book!

    Beverly Lewis said...

    Since it was unanmimous encouragement to voice my opinion to the Prez, I did so. He emailed me back within 2 hours! That was impressive. He said they couldn't control it once the speaker was up there. He noted he had been asked to speak for 8 minutes...which turned into 42 minutes. ZZZZZZZZZZ
    Thanks for your input!!

    TransitionGirl said...

    I remember my graduation ceremony. the speaker's topic was so gloomy and depressing. all about death! kept talking on and on about her cancer, blah blah blah.... *shivers*