Grad Gripes

President Hart is not acceptable as the highlighted speaker at commencement.

The university will celebrate its 122nd commencement exercises on Thursday, May 14, in the Liacouras Center, our 10,200-seat arena, which will be filled with graduates adorning the $50 black caps and gowns, which they purchased in addition to their $50 graduation fees.

As a thank-you for the money we’ve spent on tuition, housing, meal plans, books and various other college accessories, the university is rewarding us with a highlighted speaker – President Ann Weaver Hart.

In the three years since Hart was elected Temple’s ninth president, one of the most common complaints around campus has been her lack of presence. While former presidents can be found wandering Main Campus, Hart appears to be strangely absent, and her interaction with students has been limited.

As seemingly invisible as she’s been, Hart could theoretically address the student body at any time. And as the president of the university, she’s already on tap to speak at this year’s commencement. Yet, she is the highlighted speaker, the main attraction.

Last year’s graduating class was bid adieu by Bill Cosby, Temple alum, comic and sitcom star. Why isn’t some like Bob Saget, Daryl Hall or John Oates – all famous alumni scheduled to appear? Or a former student or professor who led an extraordinary life.

Instead, Hillel Hoffman, assistant director of university communications, confirmed that Hart will be this year’s highlighted speaker. A few others will also give brief addresses.

Chief Judge Anthony Joseph Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, will give brief remarks, and Kendrick Davis, a mechanical engineering major, will speak on behalf of students.

Other appearances will include a professor from the School of Communications and Theater, the chair of the Board of Trustees and Temple’s alumni association president. While these people have given fully of themselves and made invaluable contributions to the university, they can be found on campus just about every day.

Graduating seniors deserve a commencement speaker who is more than just a campus staple. After more than four years of hard work and hard-earned money, our seniors deserve more than this.


  1. President Hart is so hard working and has accomplished so much on behalf of our great University. She is a marvelous, brilliant speaker and a wonderful person. Improving our endowment in these difficult times is no easy task. She works so hard to maintain and provide the University with a world class faculty. I see nothing but improvements across the board. A woman President of a University who has created a feeling and atmosphere of excellence.
    One should be proud to have her speak.

    Paul L Formal class of 1973

  2. It is perfectly reasonable for the student body to ask why, in addition to President Hart speaking, another accomplished TU graduate has not been invited to speak. Take a hard look at commercially successful TU grads and ask why is Bill Cosby usually a main speaker? I graudated in 1995 and he’s been appearing at graduations for a very long time. I would not be thrilled if the President of my alma mater, no matter a male or female president, is the highlighted speaker. It’s a fair statement one has a right to make.

  3. Are you suggesting that Big Tony will take time from his busy schedule traveling to Italy to make a quick 5 thou, to lavish the student body with the honor of his glorious presence? Brief is right! He’s got to catch his tax-payer funded flight to Florence to assure the integrity of courts overseas.

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