Commencement Redux

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Admit it, you’re glad you didn’t have to sit out in the rain for the class days and Commencement, but you kind of want to know if anything interesting happened during the graduation festivities. As usual, Bwog’s got you covered.

Precipitation: It rained, dulling the much-ballyhooed McCain protest (sez the NY Times), and giving rise to griping grandaunts and yelling matches between stressed parents and seniors. Parent quote of the day: “Well, I figure, I sometimes sit in snow for five or six hours to hunt some elk, so, I figure why not sit through a bit o’ rain for the son’s graduation?”

Salutation: CC Salutatorian Julia DiBenigno spoke gleefully of the joys of “familiar faces,” “experimenting with who we are and who we want to be,” and the “memories that will last a lifetime.” Quoting Peter Parker, she reminded graduates that with great power comes great responsibility. Lukewarm applause ensued.

Pontification: The senior senator from Arizona intoned on the “fight between right and wrong” that we are apparently now facing, in a speech remarkably similar to the address he gave to Liberty University grads three days before. Hey, if it’s good enough for a school that does the good work of God, why change?

Duplication: One of the Cohen twins got magna cum laude, while the other got just the laude. I mean, they’re fraternal. Identical twins Paul and Phil Fileri, on the other hand, both were honored with summa cum laude. Snap!

Jubilation: You’ve got to hand it to PrezBo—for having given three commencement speeches already, he’s still churning out zingers like eviction notices in Manhattanville, as well as ponderous pronouncements such as how the Iraq war might have been avoided if we were all a bit more educated. The word “procrastination” drew applause from across the board, but audience response typically followed State of the Union style: CC students went wild over his quotations of Montaigne, medical students screamed at the mention of 168th street, and Bwog is willing to make an assumption about who cheered when he talked about India’s advances in computer engineering.

Projectilation?: All the classes threw their appropriate objects upon being called. Columbia College launched apple cores for the core curriculum (mostly aimed at SEAS). International flags for SIPA, giant toothbrushes for the School of Dentistry, mini gavels for future lawyers, paper airplanes for SEAS…you get the picture.

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  1. gross

    john mccain looks like a weird mutant baby.

  2. What did GS throw?

    What did GS throw? Dentures?

    • What did GS throw?  

      Clout, experience and a lot less shit talking then a punk like you. You are probably an insecure 18 year old who failed to make it to Harvard, so you vent your frustration on others. Hahaha. When's the last time you got some?

  3. square

    Did McCain understand what the orange represented? Did he comment?

  4. What did GS throw?

    I go to GS, retard. I really want to know what they threw.

  5. why?

    Why so much contention? Why is GS so defensive? Is it because it gets made fun of? Cuz I don't see it getting made fun of any more than CC or SEAS, and definitely BC, and yet... I feel everything with the mention of GS is immediately taken as an attack. C'mon now guys, can't we all just get along?

    • Dentures

      What kills me is that #4 probably doesn't even go to GS and is just sticking up for our grey-bearded brethren out of some bizarrely displaced sense of white liberal guilt. Why is there no GS community? Because any one of us worth a damn lives off campus and already has life outside of GS. Is GS easier to get into than CC? Of course it is. Do employers differentiate between GS and CC? In my experience, only in that they occasionally mistake it for graduate school.

    • GSer  

      I don't think there is any real contention. There are just a few assholes in every crowd. Most students that I run into are school-blind. The coolest kids in every school usually link up and relate to the coolest kids in other schools. That's just the way it is. The kids who are most likely to feel insecure about being in GS, are the ones who most likely have a reason to be insecure, and probably did use it as a backdoor. The rest of us laugh at that, cause real world experience has taught us better.

  6. liberal guilt  

    GS has an acceptance rate of between 40 and 50%. A few years ago, it was nearly open-enrollment. Supply and demand, people. If adults really started taking advantage of GS as way to pay for the use of a degree mill, then GS's acceptance rate will drop dramatically. GS can only be so large without posing an onerous burden on the faculty. Of the four undergraduate schools, GS is almost lower than Barnard in the pecking order in where they are prioritized and what they can demand.

  7. GS guilt

    What's the CC consenus on our new president's proposal to have us GSers mentor CC students?

  8. I'm curious...  

    What did Barnard grads toss?

  9. SEAS  

    I think the mentorship program would be pretty amazing. There are some students at GS who were big players in the tech business, I heard a rumor that the guy who invented IE is there. A CS student like me could definitely benefit from that kind of mentorship.

    • GS Mentor

      That's a surprisingly reasonable and lucid answer. I didn't even think of it like that, still I can't help but think of the freaks in my writing classes. Sometimes I think it should be the other way round, maybe have CCers show us how to write papers or something. We could pay you back with booze or something.

      • Freaky Writers  

        My university writing class had some freaks as well. At first I wondered how the hell they got in here, but UW is obviously a weed out course for a some. Some of the people in my class dropped out. That's probably why they make people take it.

  10. They squirted mace at SEAS

    And threw bouquets to CCers accepted to Goldman Sachs

  11. speeches?

    who gave them? which ones were good?

  12. Hahahaha  

    I think that comment was in regards to Senator McCain.

  13. barnard

    Barnard girls all threw their worn-out dildos into the air as they were pelted with apples from CC students. One CC girl was very expressive of her feelings towards Barnard as she hurled an apple straight at them yelling, "SLUTS!"

  14. senior  

    I was in CC so we didn't have a great view of GS but it didn't seem like they threw anything. The cores that CC threw at SEAS were then thrown from SEAS to Barnard... barnard just had noisemakers and no throwing stuff. One prop for GS - Prof. Awn was perhaps the most engaging dean at commencement (in terms of his presentation)... then again, I had him for a class and he spoke the same way.

    The Med school threw blow-up gloves, Physical therapy held up crutches, Teachers College threw lined paper, and the J-school threw newspaper. I was kinda hoping that the Business school would throw us all money, but to no avail.

    McCain clearly saw the protest but didn't react to it. Julia's speech was pretty much ignored but Kwame never got to make his... so I guess that's worse. And the Carman twin imbalance (in terms of honors) was hysterical. They probably had one class in which they performed differently.

    • what  

      are the gpa cutoffs this year for cum/magna/summa?

      • senior  

        i don't know scientifically, but i had about a 3.77 and got cum laude, as did my friend who had a 3.82 so i'm guessing 3.77 was close to the bottom of the pile... one friend had 3.91ish and got magna... i think you needed close to a 3.98 for summa

        • Holy moly

          Those are high GPAs for latin honors!!! Most universities I know of have standard GPA requirements (like 3.6 - Cum, 3.75 - Magna, 3.9 - Summa). These generally work out to the 25%, 10%, 5% splits for honors. However, most universities don't have the grade inflation of Columbia or other Ivies.

  15. GPA cut-offs

    I had a 3.772 and got nothing.

    Well, a fine education. But, still, nothing.

  16. man...

    all it'll tell us is that apparently the poli sci and english majors will get the honors while teh chem/math/physics students get screwed

    • ha

      That's not true at all - I'm an English major and I graduated with 3.7367 (and had straight As this year), and didn't get honors. It's the econ/science people who can get A+s in their classes; I've never heard of anyone getting an A+ in a humanities class. If you look at the major breakdown for latin honors I'd bet you'd find more science/econ majors than humanities majors.

  17. does...

    Barnard graduate as a part of the university?

    • Heather  

      Yes, Barnard participates in the University commencement. I've heard that in the past we've thrown teddy bears (to symbolize the Barnard bear or raising children?), but this year we didn't throw anything except our m*ther F*n' hands in the air. At first I felt left out, but I suppose now that 'twas better to have thrown nothing than to have throw something cute and cuddly.

  18. Honors issue

    I don't think it's based solely on GPA. They take course difficulty and a few others things into account, if I'm not mistaken. Didn't it say that at the very end of the student listing in the program?

  19. hah

    anyone else think its funny that SEAS is filled with asians and indian kids but both the valedictorian and salutatorian were white guys?

  20. val and sal?

    who were the val and sal for CC?

  21. that's junk

    i've gotten A+'s in humanities classes (sociology, human rights and an anthro class). my humanities classes boost my gpa's while my hard science ones bring it down. Let's not even consider the outcry if CC humanities majors had to take a mandatory math class and an extra science class (as opposed to the CC science majors/math majors---econ only counts if you take a serious quantitative approach-- who have to take two semesters of lit hum/cc and then uw/art hum/music hum/major cultures)

  22. science majors

    think they're superior academically mainly because they are taking harder things. however, more often than humanities majors, they lack social skills

  23. protesters

    You know, I'm not really surprised that nobody noted the irony of McCain promoting respectful, dissenting opinion and the protesters shouting him down. Not only that, they booed him when he suggested that Islamic extremists have contempt for innocent human life. If that's not a golden nugget of the reactionary nature of Columbia I don't know what is. It seems like there were a few dozen students who skipped CC when J.S. Mill was being discussed. That ceremony only reinforced my doubts of the scholarly nature of a substantial portion of Columbia College.

    I disagree with McCain on a whole host of issues, but I had enough respect for my fellow classmates on that day not to create a spectacle of my disagreement.

    • ...  

      No one said that the marketplace of ideas had to be a quiet one. Respectful dissent can and should take the form of a protest when one speaker is privileged over others (in this case, would-be non-speakers at a ceremony for them), symbolically and otherwise. When Mill talked about an exchange of ideas, I don't think his emphasis was us keeping our voices down in a crowd and proper manners.

    • um  

      When Mill was applauding an exchange of ideas, I don't think he meant that every time we're told to sit in a crowd of hundreds and listen to someone we disagree with, we should do so obediently. It's not an exchange of ideas if the listeners aren't given a chance to speak. Sometimes you have to find your own chance and not just wait around for it to come. You might be waiting your whole life.

    • humph  

      Not reading Mill at all is surely better than vesting from him that we should all sit down, shut up, and do what we're told.

  24. you missed the point

    It's not an exchange of ideas if you're shouting down opposing ideas, thus impeding not only your own, but others' ability to assess the worth of those ideas.

    A marketplace of ideas can't exist if the ideas are never permitted to be heard.

    I don't mind if some students choose to show their disagreement, hell, that's what the bulk of the speech was about. But to stand up and position your umbrellas so your fellow students can't see the stage on their Class Day just shows the self-important nature of many of these protesters. If people took the time to actually listen to what the man was saying they might have had a good chuckle about everything they were witnessing that day, but I think most were straining to hear tidbits about the war or islamic extremism that they could lash out against.

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