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.