Happy graduates and that guy’s head.

Fortunately, PrezBo’s hair weathered the extreme heat of today’s College graduation ceremonies. A little after 9:30 am today, the class of 2013 marched with their gowns sticking to their sweaty under thighs. The Salutatorian, Yoshiaki Ko, made the first speech of the morning, discussing the “nexus” that Low Steps become when it’s nice out and the intellectual and social connectedness of the student body and the university at large. Terrence McNally, class of ’60, proceeded to give the Keynote address (highlights are after the jump). After student awards, Deantini urged the class of 2013 to “remember the imperative, ‘Roar, Lion, Roar,” and PrezBo promised to keep it brief in light of his speech for tomorrow’s University Commencement. Class President, Ryan Mandelbaum, started his speech by taking a selfie at the podium and provided insights on his freshman self’s “shearling lined Crocs.” Hands were shook, pins were given and names were read, the last of which was “Beyoncé Knowles” (this actually happened) which is apparently the proper phonetic pronunciation of Meriam Raouf‘s name. You know it’s unbelievable when a parenthetical disclaimer is necessary. Congrats CC 2013!

Speech Highlights: Yoshiaki Ko (Salutatorian): ” How many Columbia students does it take to change a lightbulb? The answer is 76. One to change the lightbulb, fifty to protest the lightbulb’s right to not change, and twenty-five to hold a counter-protest.”

Terrence McNally (Keynote Speaker): “The only advice I have is: Be nicer to people. Wash your hands more frequently. Count to 100 at least twice before asking someone to marry you. Don’t put compromising photos of yourself on Facebook. That’s about it.”

“My professors told me that the greatest thoughts were inside these buildings with the most exciting, exuberant city outside, so I felt justified in skipping my classes…and this carried through for the next four years.”

“In the Eisenhower years, we didn’t talk about who was gay…but there was a hell of a lot of wondering. I was out but I felt alone…but I didn’t want to live my life secretively and furtively…but times have changed in my 50 years, in my lifetime.”

“I still have recurring nightmares that I’m a Senior and I haven’t opened a book the entire semester and exams and term papers are due in the morning. Fortunately, I always wake up before I drown myself in a Low Library fountain.”

“My senior year I wrote the Varsity Show. It was about cannibals and celebrities who deserve to be eaten…today it would be the Kardashians…”

“I’m not smarter than everyone I know. I just received a superior education—my Harvard and Yale friends would agree.”

“We need the class of 2013 to show us what else must be done to make this a more perfect planet. Let us make the future our friend.”

Deantini: “This is the greatest College in greatest University in the world.”

“It was believed that commencement addresses were important because students shouldn’t be released into the world until properly sedated.”

“The best  use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” (quoting William James)

“Work hard, try hard, play hard…I know you’re all Columbia students so you’re probably thinking, play? What’s play?

“College walk doesn’t go just from Amsterdam to Broadway, but around the world.”

PrezBo: “However much other Universities claim to have a core, none’s come close to Columbia’s.”

“Keep this educational experience alive and well.”

Ryan Mandelbaum: “Daft Punk released a new album and a song on it goes, [singing] ” We’ve come too far, to give up who we are, so let’s raise the bar, and our cups to the stars.” I chose this song mainly because the day I wrote this speech, James Bennet told me to quote Kanye West’s Good Morning, “homie this ‘stuff” is basic, welcome to Graduation,” but there are a lot of curses and the entire first verse is about cheating on all your tests.”

“If you look back on Facebook posts or tweets or emails from Freshman year, it will be excruciatingly painful.”

“Some of us will have to wake up at 8 am to do something other than pregame for Bacchanal.”

“Never change and don’t give up who you are.”