Monday, May 16, 2011

My Commencement Speech

I totally thought of this idea independent of Jareda Clifton, but he posted first, so I have to write this sentence defending the fact that it was in my brain first.

This weekend I graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with my Master of Arts in English, concentration in Creative Writing.  My thesis was titled My Papa, My Hero: Short Stories on the Life of Joseph Cecil Brewer, Jr. and it took me over a year to write it.  But, when I walked across the stage, all they bothered to tell anybody was my full name.  Got all of my names right, so I gotta give 'em credit for that.  The speech was given by the former president of SLU and the current president of the University of Louisiana system, Dr. Randy Moffatt.  It was short enough at 15 minutes.  During my first graduation, it was Lt. General Honore, who was over all military forces in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.  I was looking forward to shaking his hand, but he left before the second half of us came up on the platform.  He talked a lot longer than Dr. Moffatt.

So, if they ever let me speak to the SLU graduating class, here's what I'll have to say.

My Commencement Speech by Zechariah S. Preston, Esq.

Welcome graduates of SLU, which is not LSU either in name or in substance, but halfway wishes it was and halfway wishes it wasn't even close.  I know you.  You wear LSU gear to Southeastern's own sporting events.  You have LSU bumper stickers.  A good half of you went to LSU before coming here.  Another quarter of you are represented today by former Southeastern students who are busy graduating from LSU.  And, I've got to hand it to the eight of you who actually care about Southeastern as a university independent from anything else.

So you graduated.  You seriously just graduated.  Good job.  You didn't have to put up with Ivy League crap, and your bank account and student loan debt should reflect that. You didn't stress about your team going to a bowl game.  We got winning seasons in some sports, but whenever we played a real know what happened.  Even outside of that, NBC's Community hits just a little too close to home.  2011 was the year that Southeastern's housing office hosted its first annual prom.  Yes, a  prom.  Just when you thought you got out of high school.

But don't worry.  Especially you General Studies folks.  There's work out there for you.  Look at me, Southeastern cared so much for me that they allowed me to have a graduate assistantship for the first year and a half of grad school, then stopped caring.  It's cool, though, I got a job at Domino's.  That's what a degree and a half gets you, folks.  It's cool, though, my chosen career in the Louisiana public school system promises to keep me humble by keeping me moderately paid.  

I hope you all grow up to be prosperous citizens who see no reason to support public schools.  Because, around here, that sounds like the best option.  Don't get involved, don't vote, and whatever you do, don't care about anyone but yourself, and you'll fit right in.  Care about your community the way you cared about Southeastern.

To the faculty sitting behind me, way to be there.  Thanks for not being super stringent on me.  Thanks for letting me graduate.


1 comment:

  1. Pessimistic and sarcastic--exactly how I like my commencement addresses. Good job :)