Speaker drops pants at graduation

Thousands of families and friends may have gotten more than they bargained for June 17 when they joined UCSD graduates at RIMAC Field to celebrate All-Campus Commencement.

Dr. Hunter “”Patch”” Adams, keynote speaker at the event, closed the ceremony by mooning the crowd, and was joined by former A.S. President Doc Khaleghi.

The events evoked a formal apology from Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph Watson.

The concluding gesture drew a mixed response, however, as many in the audience laughed, some applauded and others seemed to recoil in disapproval.

“”I didn’t appreciate it at all,”” graduate Dan Armstrong said. Armstrong’s mother Laura concurred: “”I am really disappointed — this was supposed to be positive.””

In addition to his posterior-bearing finale, some attendees said the content of Adams’ speech left them with a bad taste in their mouth.

For the Armstrongs, Adams’ remarks may have dampened an otherwise joyous day, but many were moved by his speech and appreciated the concluding antics.

“”It was fantastic; the most moving speech [I’ve heard] in the last 30 years,”” said Dan Daigle, father of a graduate. “”I think the man’s message gives us something to think about.””

Warren graduate Jamie Kunze also was impressed by the speech, but for another reason: “”I enjoyed watching the faculty [members’] expressions.””

Kunze’s father Chris found few faults with the address, as well.

“”It makes you want to drop everything and change your life,”” he said. “”In terms of giving and sharing wealth, it’s a good message to think about on their way out into the world.””

Others doubted that the speech was understandable to the majority of the attendees.

“”It was definitely controversial and a little political,”” said Muir graduate Sarah Fabes. “”A little extreme to reach anyone.””

In response to such criticism, Adams replied, “”I never care if I stimulate or irritate. I came as a doctor and I say we are going to be extinct.””

Watson’s apology regarding the antics stated that “”It was unfortunate, and we apologize to students and guests who were offended by this gesture.””

Aside from the mooning, Adams urgently encouraged graduates to take back the public sphere from a “”lust of money”” and transform it to “”one of a love for humanity.””

He also thanked the students for personally inviting him to speak and assured that he would be issuing his “”most personal”” commencement speech ever, filled with what he referred to as “”seditious ideas.””

Adams then turned his speech to challenging, introspective questions, encouraging graduates to consider how they could save their futures by bringing true meaning back into their lives.

“”Is there any chance that care could be commonplace and not revolutionary? Can one call it living if one is silent about injustice? What buttons need to be pushed to have a person change from defining success in terms of a lust for money and power toward defining success as loving radiant care,”” Adams asked.

On speaking about the social problems that face the graduating class, Adams alluded to urgency in raising the issues.

“”I am now not letting myself not give a talk when I don’t bring it up,”” he said. “”I feel it is irresponsible [not to]. … I am compelled to do this.””

Adams also touched on national politics, arguing that President George W. Bush was contributing to “”the dire state of life.””

“”There has never been a more dangerous man in America for my lifetime — this is an embarrassment to leadership,”” Adams said to applause. “”I can guarantee that unless you are rich he doesn’t care about you and never will — ever. He is not smart enough to know he is completely devoid of compassion.””

Following the ceremony, Adams mingled with those who wanted pictures and autographs, and he was infrequently berated by members of the audience for his attacks on Bush.

Adams’ speech was preceded by Chancellor Robert C. Dynes’ welcoming address, in which he too emphasized the importance of giving back to society as opposed to just helping oneself.

“”Use your education for the betterment of society,”” Dynes said. “”I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Go out and make us proud.””

Khaleghi also preceded Adams in addressing the graduating class; he encouraged the audience to take personal responsibility for the future of the world.

“”You need to seek responsibility and seek it zealously,”” Khaleghi said. “”Make your responsibility to be the change you want to see in the world. And then outside the idealized and protected confines of this university you will find a sanctuary within yourself.””

Khaleghi also warned of a future in which humans would be extinct as a result of a dearth of priorities, but he assured that hope was alive: “”There is still a chance we can still turn it around. This is a call for heroism. If we are to prevail, it will be your generation.””

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