LSA senior Adam Paterno is more than a little dissatisfied with the selection of auto writer David E. Davis Jr., founder of Automobile Magazine, as this year’s annual commencement speaker:
“… For many graduating seniors, the University’s selection of another little-known speaker was a major disappointment and further proof that the University’s tradition of selecting unknown and generally unimportant speakers continues. While I personally expected the University to select another speaker that would be consistent in furthering the University’s political agenda, in this case I was more surprised by the general weakness of the selection.
Coleman was quoted as saying, “I think it is really important for our graduates to see how one person can have a big say.” “Through his (auto) critiques, he has really had an impact on a big industry … in Michigan,” she added.
What Coleman fails to realize is that the University is not a technical institute or a professional auto school somewhere in the boondocks of Michigan. If I were a student at such a school, a selection like Davis may be acceptable. The University is a world-class institution with an Ivy League reputation. It maintains the advantage, both academically and financially, to attract speakers who are distinguished on a global scale and who truly influence our future. With the University’s U.S. Supreme Court victory, an upcoming presidential election and an ongoing war in Iraq, the school’s choice in Davis is odd at best.
While other schools will be treated to such captivating and moving speakers as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Bill Cosby, the president of the United States or a Supreme Court justice, the University, however, will once again not. While Davis’s achievements and life story are surely notable, the selection of such a speaker with so little experience in public speaking by such a highly esteemed university is not only distressing for seniors, many of whom have paid thousands of dollars in tuition, but an embarrassment to the school.”