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Monday, June 13, 2011

A graduation day speech to my liking!

Anm.: Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.

When I graduated in 1989, there was an award ceremony held at the Old Palace in Stuttgart. Now don't start getting ideas, though - it was a relatively profane event, which mostly comprised of some speeches held by some officials of the Academy where I had studied for three years, and one student representative of our cohort (1986 - 1989).

There was also a keynote speaker. And this is where the real problem of this event began. The school management had sought for some kind-of celebrity, but they did not go very far with it.

I guess, as as our field of study was Social Work / Social Pedagogic, there was not too much a variety of bling-bling people for our principal and those in charge to choose from ... Or maybe, none of those people of some renown and real celebrity factor were interested to speak at an event where students got their diploma for something many people cannot define in the first place.

In a nut shell: Speaking at this graduation was nothing to write home about.

So we ended up having the Lord Mayor of Stuttgart at that time, Manfred Rommel, to give us some wisdom and encouragement to take with us into the new part of our lives that lay before us.

So much for the idea.

Our graduation day was in the end of September. It was still summer-like weather (although the calendar stated it was autumn). And summer in Stuttgart is a sweat-inducing season, because the town lies in an enclosed valley, and although the sun reaches the place perfectly, winds seem to think that they don't want to lower themselves that far, and avoid the city most of the time.

Not my kind of weather, no sir!

Well, at graduation day, it was pretty much classic Stuttgart summer, and so everyone was more or less bathed in sweat, and it was really stuffy in the hall we were in. Fresh air? Nope, not available.

When Mr Rommel (yes, the son of World War II Field Marshal Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel) started his speech, we all tried to focus and listen. Minutes later, many of us simply gave up on that, though, because it simply was impossible to follow his drowsy speaking, that was additionally clouded by a heavy lisp. Part of the fault also goes to the really bad sound system in that hall.

To sum up: The speech of Lord Mayor Manfred Rommel completely ... no, not passed me by - it simply did not reach me at all, acoustically!

But I was not the only one. I saw many of my fellow students struggling to, first and foremost, stay awake! 

So, sadly, I could not benefit from any of his precious thoughts and good advice, that he probably had prepared and wanted to share with us. I had to make my way through life without those mental provisions.


Now, yesterday, soon to be 22 years after I got my diploma, I saw a graduation speech that did the trick for me, and that I enjoyed every single of the 22 minutes that it lasted.

US talk show host and comedian Conan O'Brien gave the commencement speech at the 2011 graduation ceremony of Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire). And I can only say: Holy cow :-)!

Okay, of course not everyone will be fond of Conan O'Brien's kind of humour. But still ... I guess even those people would, given the choice, prefer O'Brien's speech over the one Mr Rommel gave to us back then.

Hm, to be correct, I should better say that he kept his speech from us!

No offense, Mr Rommel - I'm sure you are a nice guy, but you are not a good speaker ... or, as you would pronounce it, "sshhpeaker".

Anyways: Enjoy the video.


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geriatric1927 said...

Bravo. What a wonderful speech, so much humour but so much wisdom.

Truedantalion said...

Thank you for reading, and for taking your time to also watch the video! Yes, it's really a rich mixture, and O'Brien actually talked TO the students, and not only about (more or less) profound things, that mostly make the heads of professors and principal nod in agreement.