April 16, 2002

Danny Glover to Be Convocation Speaker

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Actor Danny Glover has agreed to speak at this year’s Senior Class Convocation on May 25 at noon in Barton Hall. He was invited to speak by the Convocation Committee, which was composed of members of the 2002 Class Council, Student Assembly, and other organizations on campus.

Glover has starred in numerous movies such as Places in the Heart, Witness, Silverado, The Color Purple, The Lethal Weapon series, Angels in the Outfield, Beloved, and The Royal Tenenbaums. Glover’s awards include the NACCP Image Award in 1986 and an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series entitled Mandela.

Glover is currently the host and executive producer of Courage, a one-hour weekly series that premieres this summer on the Fox Family Channel.

“I feel honored and fortunate that Danny Glover has agreed to speak at the 2002 Convocation ceremony,” said Lisa Adelman ’02, senior class president and member of the Convocation Committee. “He is not only a respected actor, but he is also a prominent activist.”

“The senior class wanted a speaker who will be engaging as well as someone with depth of character. I believe Danny Glover meets and exceeds those criteria,” Adelman said.

Another student commented on Glover speaking at the ceremony.

“I think that Glover was a good choice given the alternatives,” said Uzo Asonye ’02, president of the Student Assembly (S.A.). “He worked out well for us in the end and I think he will be a good speaker.”

While many students look forward to Glover’s upcoming speech, others have begun to evaluate the process by which Cornell chooses its convocation speaker.

“We went through an exhaustive list of potential speakers such as Kofi Annan, Toni Blair, Nelson Mandela, and Bill Clinton,” Asonye said. “We couldn’t get these speakers because of scheduling conflicts and lack of funds.”

Asonye commented on issues regarding how Cornell’s convocation speaker is funded.

“We have no real money to pay [the] speaker and the administration is not really involved,” Asonye said. “I definitely think that the invitation [for a convocation speaker] should be issued by the administration and that the administration should put funds behind the process.”

Cornell’s convocation speaker is currently funded by the Student Activity Fee, which is allocated by the Student Assembly. In the past, Cornell’s convocation speakers have often been politicians, who cannot legally accept money for their speeches, according to Mark Greenbaum ’02, executive vice president of the S.A.

“I would love to see the administration provide the Convocation Committee with $100,000,” Asonye said. “The Committee should meet with the administration after they rank fifty speakers in priority. The administration should then work with the students to invite the speaker.”

The administration, however, continues to support the current procedure of choosing and inviting a convocation speaker.

“In terms of the procedure, the Senior Class Council has had the responsibility to choose the speaker and to reach out to the potential speaker,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations. “For the last decade, this has worked quite well. This year it does not seem that members of the committee believe it worked as well.”

Dullea said that the administration has agreed to meet with the students to discuss the procedure. He also said that asking the administration to provide funds is a “question of priorities” and that this issue will be discussed in the future meetings.

Archived article by Jamie Yonks