Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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Speeches: Dartmouth Plays Texas
While we are on the topic of Commencement addresses, let’s compare and contrast Shonda Rhimes ‘91’s speech with Admiral William McRaven’s address at the University of Texas. McRaven has been a Navy SEAL for 36 years. From my perspective 35 years after graduation, I think that the Admiral’s oration contained more pertinent information for graduates and was delivered in a more engaging fashion.
No need to comment on the vocabulary choices of each speaker.
Addendum: a longtime reader writes in from Hanover:
Thanks for posting Admiral McRaven’s succinct remarks at UT-Austin’s Commencement and suggesting readers compare and contrast with Shonda Rhimes’ speech at Dartmouth.
There is no comparison.
The sad part is realizing that Dartmouth College could probably not allow a William McRaven to speak at Commencement. Representing the best of America’s military culture and security involvements, his invitation would be petitioned against, protested and ultimately rescinded — if he did not voluntarily revoke his prior agreement to speak at graduation first. We see this occur with increasing frequency at other schools.
Fortunately for our nation, there are still places where the Admiral McRavens are invited, honored and listened to. As you note, such leaders bring far more hard-won, real-world, constructive wisdom than do edgy celebrities and breezy narcissists — those who embody (and profit from) degrading our entertainment-oriented pop culture.
Addendum: New York Magazine liked Shonda’s speech. The magazine reproduced it completely and embedded the College’s video. Here is writer Lindsey Weber’s introoduction:
Shonda Rhimes gave Dartmouth’s commencement address on Sunday, noting to the sea of students that she was worried that she might “pass out or die or poop my pants” midway. But! She made it — imparting much general wisdom and some added tips on being someone whom many people assume effortlessly “does it all.” (The secret? “You don’t.”)
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…