By LIZ CAMUTI
Actor and comedian, Ed Helms — best known for his role as passionate Cornell alumnus Andy Bernard ’95 on NBC’s The Office — will address graduating seniors at convocation this year, the Class of 2014 Convocation Committee announced Tuesday.
During his run on The Office, Helms made a name for himself as Andy Bernard, a paper salesman at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, who frequently references his time at Cornell. With lines such as “I graduated from anger management the same way I graduated from Cornell: On time,” Bernard is, perhaps, Cornell’s most famous fictional alumnus.
In addition to his role on The Office, Helms, a graduate of Oberlin College, has also starred in the Hangover trilogy and served as a correspondent on The Daily Show.
Jennifer Lee ’14, chair of this year’s convocation ceremony and committee said she is thrilled with the selection of Helms as convocation speaker because he is someone “everyone in the Cornell community can connect to.”
“Ed Helms is great for our convocation because every time alumni or students watch The Office or see Andy Bernard, they are reminded of Cornell,” Lee said.
Helms — who gave the Convocation address at Knox College last year — is the first ever comedian to speak at Cornell’s Convocation ceremony. Since 2001, 10 politicians, including last year’s speaker Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), have spoken at Convocation. Lee said the Convocation Committee is excited to break this trend.
“If you look at all of the Ivies — all of the schools we academically compete with — they’ve all started getting comedians and other pop culture figures, and we haven’t been able to compete with them in that way yet,” Lee said. “We’ve had some awesome, big name speakers for sure, but this year the Convocation Committee felt destined to do something different.”
Corey Earle ’07, associate director of student programs in the Office of Alumni Affairs, said he believes Ed Helms was “an appropriate choice” for this year’s Convocation ceremony.
“An entire generation of Cornellians, when they think of Ed Helms, think of a Cornellian in pop culture,” Earle said. “I’m also definitely happy to see the committee pick someone who’s not a politician as those speakers tend to be more polarizing among the Cornell community.”
The University will hold its 146th convocation ceremony on May 24 from 12 to 1 p.m. at Schoellkopf Stadium.