Bob Dole delivered his fair share of speeches during his decades-long political career. Dole will bring those years of speaking experience to the Ellipse as the keynote speaker at GW’s Commencement ceremony Sunday.
But students have mixed emotions about the University’s choice of speakers.
“I’m excited because I think he’s a good speaker – he’s had a lot of practice,” Christina Gannon said. “He seems like a more fun guy since he lost the election.”
Patrick Carlson shares Gannon’s enthusiasm for Dole’s Commencement speech.
“Dole has had a long career in public service. He won’t be speaking on any political platform so he’ll have an opportunity to be real and reflect on something more than politics,” Carlson said.
“It will be interesting to hear him speak about his life and experiences,” he said.
Students also said Dole’s media exposure since he lost the presidential election has improved their perception of the former senator.
“I like him a lot more now that he has appeared on credit card commercials and made appearances on late-night talk shows,” Ilan Waldman said.
“He was pretty funny. He’s certainly a famous and distinguished person, and I’m sure he has lots of things to say,” said Waldman, a December graduate who will walk in Sunday’s ceremony.
“Jerry Seinfeld would have been a better choice because he’s funny,” Ann Guitierrez said. But she said she is excited to have a well-known figure like Dole speak at Commencement.
Some students said they hope Dole adds a memorable message to his speech.
“I’m hoping he imparts some words of wisdom to us,” Tabona “Papi” Dabutha said. “I hope it’s something we remember.”
But Gina Danesi, a 1997 graduate who will attend this year’s Commencement, said she is disappointed in the University’s selection.
“I don’t really like what he stands for,” Danesi said. “I would rather hear a good Democrat speak.”