The commencement address you won’t hear

I wrote the following speech for a high level IU administrator to deliver at the 2001 commencement. Then I decided to share it with you readers instead.

Dear graduates,

Congratulations on reaching this milestone. Four or five (or in some cases six or more) years ago, you arrived in Bloomington to attend Indiana’s university, IU. For some reason you chose the remote Bloomington campus instead of our new main campus in Indianapolis.

We’re not sure how you lost the directions, because we have been making all major announcements from our media headquarters at the IUPUI campus an hour north of here, including some major announcements concerning our athletics programs in Bloomington. Of course, our general rule is that sad firings are announced in Indy, happy hiring announcements made in Bloomington.

Be that as it may, we are pleased you have completed your degree program and are moving on from Bloomington. This mass exodus will help free up apartments and dorm rooms for this fall’s incoming class, which probably will be the largest class in IU history.

There will not be enough dorm rooms or on-campus apartments for those who wish to live on campus, so we will arbitrarily reject all graduate students who apply to live on campus, in particular those who are moving here from Japan. They will be encouraged to live on the streets for the first several months until they find accommodations.

Enough of this focusing on the future. It is time to reflect upon the past and think about all the things that have happened in your time here. For example, did you realize that no large open space at IU has gone without construction while you were here? It took awhile, but we finally managed to dig into Woodlawn Field during spring break — so this summer it will be as muddy as Dunn Meadow. Amazingly, the Arboretum recovered from its sprinkler installation fairly quickly, although if you look closely you can see where some of the pipes were buried.

We’ve also managed to hang on to some of our other traditions — every April, like clockwork, we turn on the heating system and turn off the air conditioner, while in November we turn on the air conditioner and turn off the heat. With regularity like this, you will never need Milk of Magnesia, just lots of sweaters in the winter to help keep your fingers from turning blue.

You should also remember IU’s greatest tradition: parking operations. IU has managed to assemble the finest staff in the state, collecting $1.7 million a year from people who have parked illegally. This compares to the entire city of Indianapolis, which collects only $3 million a year from a population base 10 times larger. We can be proud of the efforts of these fine men and women, some of whom park illegally for lengthy periods of time in a valiant effort to ticket the rest of us. But for some reason, they never seem to get parking tickets.

Now a comment about our student body government: A corner appears to have been turned! We have now had a few clean IUSA elections in a row. Unethical behavior by student leader candidates is at an all-time low. We are striving to eliminate all unethical behavior in the future, but until we can manage to change the rules governing the fee review committee, the IUSA president will still chair the committee that decides what fees students are charged, including, conveniently, the fee that IUSA charges.

Which brings me to a closing thought; this would not be a commencement address if I did not ask you to remember IU as you continue through life. We ask that you keep your mailing address on file with the IU Alumni Association and with the IU Foundation, as they will mail you special announcements about alumni and foundation events. Examples of such events include golf events at $85 per person and special fundraising campaigns to help boost the Bloomington Academic Endowment Campaign over its $350 million goal. We ask that you make your checks payable to the “Indiana University Foundation,” and mail them often, or remember to donate frequently online. Remember, every cent counts.

Thank you for your attention and congratulations on your graduation. We know that your time here was well spent.

, , , , ,

Comments are closed.