Editorial

    The announcement of this year’s graduation speakers for the respective colleges is a great disappointment to many graduates. Thurgood Marshall College is the only college with a speaker (California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamonte) that will draw anyone other than close family to the ceremony. Since the individual colleges don’t have the kind of pull that a united UCSD campus would have in garnering a respectable graduation speaker, the administration should seriously consider reinstating an all-campus commencement.

    Graduation is a very special time for all students. The graduation speaker is a large part of that experience. With no disrespect to the student and faculty speakers that four of the five colleges have retained for this year’s ceremony, they simply do not have the same kind of appeal that a nationally recognized speaker would have. It really makes the experience more special and unique with someone who can draw an audience and create a sense of pride in a university for getting such a good speaker. Additionally, it will leave graduates with a good last impression of UCSD, which might make them more likely to contribute money to the campus once they have gone out into the world and made some money.

    All-campus commencement was discontinued last year after cancellations left the school without a viable speaker for the ceremony. This caused attendance to drop off. In fact, attendance has been poor for the past few years. However, that should not reflect as much on the viability of an all-campus commencement as it should on the uncertainty of the speaker.

    UCSD has had a rich tradition of good graduation speakers who have drawn national attention. President Bill Clinton spoke at the ceremony in 1997 and was followed by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1998. It would be a big boost for the reputation of UCSD to get speakers of that caliber to speak at graduation. It would also be a big boost to the experience of the graduating students, who deserve such a speaker for such a special occasion.

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