April 7, 2011

2013 Convocation Committee Begins Speaker Selection Earlier

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Two years before their class graduates from Cornell, members of the 2013 Convocation Committee are already taking steps to ensure that their penultimate day at the University is special.

Although the convocation speaker for the Class of 2011 has not yet been announced, members of the 2013 Convocation Committee will be announced at the end of this week, according to Roneal Desai ’13, 2013 convocation chair.

Desai added that the change in the speaker selection process is in response to the struggles of past committees.

In 2010, the convocation speaker was announced in late January, and in 2009, an announcement was made in late February. The 2011 Convocation Committee has yet to announce its speaker.

“Over the past couple of years, [the University has] had a couple committee chairs try and book speakers that were willing to come or were interested in coming, but the reality was they’d already booked their calendars,” Desai said.

By contacting potential speakers as early as possible, the committee will increase its chances of securing its top choice, according to Anna Fowler ’13, Class of 2013 president. She added this will help the 2013 committee avoid the 2011 committee’s current struggle to find a speaker.

The speaker selection process will move forward with its first meeting next week, Desai said.

“Over the course of the month of April, we plan to have two committee meetings a week, and my personal goal is to have a couple top speaker choices selected by May 1, so that we can get an offer out to our top choice at the beginning of the summer,” Desai said.

Additionally, the extra time that the committee has will help widen the pool of potential speakers.

In the past, committees have begun selecting speakers closer to convocation and subsequently,have only been able to secure speakers with limited schedules; however, this year, the 2013 committee will have more flexibility in the choices it plans to pursue, Desai said.

Some speakers require between a year-and-a-half to two years’ notice to schedule a speech, while others, who make more of a career of public speaking, do not book speeches until a couple months beforehand, Desai said.

The extra time will give the committee a competitive edge if it decides to pursue a speaker who requires more advanced notice, he said.

The 2011 Convocation Committee has yet to announce a speaker for its convocation in May. According to 2011 Convocation Chair Christopher Mejia ’11, who was selected in November 2009, the search for the class’s convocation speaker began in early 2010. The speaker announcement for the class of 2011 commencement is planned for late April.

“We want to announce the speaker a little closer to the date [of convocation] this year,” Mejia said.

Original Author: Cindy Huynh