November 28, 2000

Convocation Speaker Selection Progresses

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For the first time ever, the convocation committee has asked fellow seniors for direct input in selecting a convocation speaker. After tallying suggestions for motivational and entertaining speakers, the popular choices included actor Christopher Reeve ’73, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, comedian Bill Cosby and Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong.

“It’s important that the class enjoys and approves of the speaker we select,” Convocation Chair Nageeb Sumar ’01 said. “That’s why we found it beneficial to poll the class for their thoughts and suggestions.”

The committee is currently contacting the prospective speakers in order to finalize its decision.

The committee is comprised of Senior Class Council members and seniors from the Cornell University Program Board, the Student Assembly Finance Committee and the Student Assembly, according to Claire Ackerman ’01, senior class president.

In choosing the speaker, the committee uses specific criteria to determine the speaker’s appeal for the class as a whole.

“We keep other issues in mind, too,” Sumar added. “Whether the speaker is a Cornell alum and whether the speaker might be a minority, a woman or an international speaker matters, given the fact that Cornell has such a diverse student body.”

Past convocation speakers have included Sen. Charles Schumer; Sandy Berger, national security advisor to President Bill Clinton; Keith Olbermann ’79, sportscaster; and Bertice Berry, comedian.

Seniors also expressed their enthusiasm for the opportunity to reflect upon their college experience.

“With graduation right around the corner, I can hardly believe how fast the last four years have gone by,” said Rich Katz ’01. “Convocation is an opportunity and time for remembering and reflecting on the past as we embark on our futures.”

“I’m looking forward to convocation and commencement because it’s a time to look back at the memories of the last four years, and also look forward to the experiences of the future,” John M. Nolan ’01 said.

Archived article by Tanvi Chheda