Suggestions to Inform Your Class Day Speaker Nominations

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We just posted about nominating your favorite political figures, writers, scientists and members of Vampire Weekend for this year’s Columbia College Class Day speaker.

If you’re unsure of whom to pick, Bwog’s put together a quick list of people we’d think would be good choices. Feel free to argue with us or suggest your own nominees in the comments.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, empress of jurisprudence, Supreme Court resident, and Law grad

Dean of Yale School of Architecture/designer of fanciest apartment building in the city Robert A.M. Stern

Multilingual intellectual and literary critic Jacques Barzun

The New Republic‘s longtime literary editor Leon Wieseltier  

United Nations all-star Hans Blix

Former Secretary of State/former CU Ph.D. candidate Madeline Albright

New York Governor David Paterson

Julius Genachowski, co-founder of first “green” bank/Obama transition team member

Art Garfunkel, just-as-talented if not-as-successful-solo half of popular 60s folk duo.

Attorney General William Pelham Barr 

Arguably more attractive Affleck brother, Casey Affleck

Comedian Greg Giraldo

Journalism hero/former Spec EIC Max Frankel

Brent Forrester, writer of all your favorite TV shows

Former (current?) Clintonista/Deaniac Jay Carson

Farragut North scribe Beau Willimon

Image via Gothamist

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  1. SEAS '09  

    Ah, the regretful SEAS student. We'll likely get some fascinating and tech-y plutocrat to come talk about the virtue of a quantitative education and liberal arts. But I'd prefer to have my big graduation speech be any of the above. Too bad the University doesn't shell out for speakers at Commencement. Why, again?

    Question too: SEAS Class Day needs a SEAS alumnus/a. Yet above you suggest people who weren't CC alumni/ae, but of other colleges in the greater university. Is CC's Class Day more flexible, or are these suggestions then unfeasible?



  3. bwog

    I thought you had to be either a CC alum or have some affiliation with CC (Eg: your son/daughter attend). I don't think Law grads can be class day speakers, although David Stern seems to contradict this view

  4. umm  

    matthew fox looks particularly fine in the above picture. how about him again- he can give the "live together, die alone" speech.

  5. THE TODD  

    What about the actor who plays the Todd from Scrubs? I think he mentioned in a bwog interview some time back that he'd love to come and speak...Can I get a second?

  6. XXX  


    As the old adage goes: nce you go black, you indeed don't go back!

  7. Yeah

    Ginsberg couldn't speak, CC grad or parent only

  8. Typo....  

    It's Ginsburg, bwog~~~if you only read the wikipedia page you linked to...

  9. David H  

    *Gouverneur Morris (is his schedule open?)
    *James McGreevey, former NJ Gov and closeted homosexual and white collar criminal (CC '76)
    *Radovan Karadzic, Serbian shrink politician and poet (medical training in 70s before committing genocide)
    *Vikram S. Pandit, CEO of Citigroup (as long as he doesn't foreclose on me)
    *Hamilton Fish (US sec of state in 1827)
    *Armand Hammer, the baking soda guy (CC '19)
    *Charles Van Doren, for all you cheaters out there (Quiz Show scandal)
    *John Dewey, and his amazing decimal system

  10. what about ...

    Ken Burns?
    Anna Wintour?
    Tony Kushner?


    Former Dean of CC. Took CC from single sex to co-ed. Raised graduation rates from 75% to 90%. STARTED THE DDC AS A STUDENT! and has been involved in running it since. He is also on the board that selects New York Times scholars. He is the embodiment of service on campus and hence was one of the guest speakers at ServiceNation. If this year is about Service and giving back and a new direction etc etc. he's the right guy for the moment.

    • Alum

      Lehecka was Dean of Students, not Dean of the College. He was in office when the College went co-ed, but he did not make it happen. I'm not sure how much of the credit he deserves for raising graduation rates, either.

      I'm not saying he's a bad choice. I'm just trying to set the record straight.

  12. well  

    i hear Alexander Hamilton (CC '56) isn't doing much these days

  13. btw  

    I understand the desire to make the Class Day speaker a school-affiliate. But why the fuck aren't they given an honorarium? That's just obnoxious. They should, at the very least, be given an honorarium to reimburse their travel costs. No wonder we get tools like Klein. Quigley needs to wake the fuck up.

    • CCSC 09  

      Columbia covers all expenses for the Class Day Speaker, including hotel, food, travel, etc.

      An honorarium would be money on top of that. Apologies for not being clearer on our website.

      CCSC '09

  14. Alum

    Calling Madeline Albright a "former CU Ph.D. candidate" is very odd, given that she actually received the degree. Would you call Barack Obama a "former CU B.A. candidate"?

    Alsp, Jacques Barzun is 101 years old and lives in El Paso. He wasn't able to come to NYC last year when CU marked his 100th birthday, so there's no reason to think he'll be able to come next year.

  15. The King of Spain

    Bob Stern may be a Short Jewish Pimp, and I love him, but he is not a great speaker.

    Not that anyone was going to vote for him...

  16. kim jong il  

    hans brix!??!?

    you're breaking my balls, bwog.

  17. Art Garfunkel  

    Clearly the best choice.

  18. Armin Rosen

    Barzun and Blix have to be a joke, as is the bit about Garfunkel being just as talented as Simon (you don't exactly see Art making alubums with Brian Eno now do you?)With this in mind, if its Wieseltier I'm sneaking into class day...

  19. xoxo  

    blake lively! didn't she say that she would take classes here if she had the time? that has to count for something...

  20. Ahhh.......

    Need I mention the obvious choice? I didn't vote for him, but, among the graduates of Columbia College who were elected President of the United States, I think he may well be my favorite...

  21. DRY EYES?  

    BEN STEIN!!!!
    BEN STEIN!!!!
    BEN STEIN!!!!
    BEN STEIN!!!!

  22. stephanopoulos  

    when was the last time george stephanopoulos gave the class day speech? cuz there's some rule about needing to wait 10 years before being allowed to do it again, right

  23. ed harris  

    i kinda would be down for ed harris...truman show was great

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