Patch Adams to Speak at Campus Commencement

For the fourth time in school history, UCSD will have an all-campus commencement now that Dr. Patch Adams has agreed to speak at the June 17 event.

“”Patch Adams represents more than a celebrity name,”” said A.S. President Doc Khaleghi, who worked to sign the speaker. “”He represents using learned knowledge for the good of the community. I think that is very important for the graduating class at UCSD to remember that we are given knowledge, but with that knowledge comes responsibility for our fellow man.””

In addition to his strong character, many believe that Adams will be a good all-campus commencement speaker because of the messages he propagates.

“”Adams says how the future may be uncertain, but to keep up your positive spirits,”” said A.S. Co-Festivals Coordinator Scott Mantel who was also responsible for booking Adams. “”I think it is a good message for people entering the real world.””

Adams, the founder of the free medical care institute, the Gesundheit Institute in West Virginia, was the first individual given a serious offer to speak by Khaleghi and Mantell.

Many seniors are excited over the signing, as it represents the chance to have an all-campus commencement and to hear a quality speaker with a solid message.

“”Having Patch Adams will not be as good as getting Bush,”” Muir senior Jan Tatala said. “”But the opportunity to hear [Adams] speak will be exciting nonetheless.””

Of equal importance to many is the fact that Adams is known for fulfilling his obligation to speak. Khaleghi said this will end all possibility that the events of last year will be repeated, when Maya Angelou canceled her engagement to speak at the last minute.

“”Adams has a reputation for never canceling an engagement,”” Khaleghi said. “”That reputation will stick.””

This fact is all the more important this year, as the administration was close to canceling all-campus commencement permanently if no speaker suitable to the students and the administration alike could be found.

Students had expressed concern over being able to graduate with friends from other colleges.

“”I like having all-campus commencement because I will get the chance to be with all my friends on this day that is so important,”” Revelle senior Taylor Scott said. “”For once there will be school spirit here.””

With the issue solved, Khaleghi said that the all-campus commencement could be the catalyst toward a greater sense of all-campus community.

“”This commencement represents a turning point for UCSD,”” Khaleghi said. “”For the first time ever, tentatively, all six commencements will be on the same day. Rather than the university taking away from the colleges, or vice-versa, the two will enhance each other. This will promote college strength while bolstering campus unity.””

In addition to unity, Mantell said that the advent of all-campus commencement will be good because it will give those who do not associate with their individual college a chance to be recognized and be a part of a larger ceremony.

“”I think it is important because a lot of students aren’t connected to their college or they are transfer students who were never placed within a college,”” he said. “”These students were always UCSD students versus a Marshall or Warren one. This is an opportunity for all students on graduation day to come together and have one graduation.””

Currently, two individual college commencements are planned for the morning, followed by the all-campus commencement on RIMAC field in the early afternoon, and the remaining three college commencements after that.

Moreover, the A.S. Council has stated that its involvement with this day has not ended now that it has signed a speaker.

“”We will play an active role in all aspects of planning so that the all-campus commencement will live up to its maximum potential,”” Khaleghi said. “”[Mantell] and I are already taking major initiatives in the planning to guarantee its success.””

Khaleghi said this effort is warranted in that the graduating seniors have worked hard and deserve an event such as this.

“”The seniors have earned this ceremony, and that is why [Mantell] and I worked so hard to give it to them,”” he said. “”It is their last hurrah, their final chance to come together. All-campus commencement will be a success and therefore here to stay.””

Regardless, Mantell said finding a speaker this year was difficult due to certain disadvantages about the school.

“”It was a pretty difficult process,”” he said. “”Many speakers will only go to their alma mater or a place they have a strong connection to. We [don’t have that because] we are a really young university.””

In addition, this represents only the fourth time that this school has had an all-campus commencement. The process of finding a speaker is new to the school.

Mantell said finding a speaker was urgent as well because all the colleges gave very early deadlines as to when they must be notified that there was going to be an all-campus commencement.

Many believe this success will stem from Adams’ use of comedy and humor in his speeches and his everyday life.

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