Column: Walking into a new millennium

It is coming to an Ellipse near you. With new corporate sponsorship, the 2001 GW Tostidos Commencement Ceremony looms just around the corner. For those who have spent the last four to seven years occupying various administration buildings, filling out blue books and butting heads with the infamous GW bureaucracy, the day promises to be filled with special memories and the sweet aroma of chili con carne.

We should, of course, take this opportunity to remember those who have gone before us fighting, and in some cases dying, to protect our God-given right to graduate on the grassy conic of our choice. They are the giants on whose shoulders we stand. For without them this year’s Commencement would no doubt be held in a ditch alongside the New Jersey Turnpike or even worse, somewhere in Long Island. However, we must also live in the present.

Nearly four months remain until the mariachi band strikes up and many of us put on our graduation sombreros. In the meantime, we must make certain that the University does not shirk its duty of choosing the most inspiring Commencement speaker possible. In the past, we have seen such great Americans as Bob Dole and such wacky yet wise irreverents as Bill Cosby deliver the address. This year’s ceremony may require an even more significant figure, one whose exploits are unparalleled and whose body odor is pleasing. We must think outside of the box and even outside of the box that box is in.

For Columbian College graduates, this will be the last voice heard before we are thrust out into the cold cruel world of living in our parent’s basement, eating their food and searching the internet for the current whereabouts of the guy who played Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter, who is actually doing quite well for himself). It has consequences for business and engineering graduates, too. For post-graduation, they will be charged with supporting the government programs that in turn support the liberal arts students. They will need to be sent out with enthusiasm far beyond what even the most perfect combination of salsa and tortilla chips can achieve. So, this must be taken seriously.

The usual list of possible speakers once again being circulated includes Hillary Clinton, Allan Greenspan, Kato Kalin and Gary Coleman. These are all great and charismatic figures. I would like nothing better than to have my years here at GW end with the enigmatic Gary Coleman questioning, “What you talkin’ ’bout, SJT?” But must we draw on the usual stock of politicians and failed sitcom stars? I say no. We can dare to imagine a greater Commencement address. After all, for most of us this will be our only college graduation. And at GW prices, let’s thank God for that ($75 for a graduation sombrero is a bit out of hand never mind the voluntary guacamole gift of 50 bucks).

Let us take our cue from those who struggled so vigilantly against the proposed geometric oppression that threatened our people just a few years ago. Let us take up arms and fight for the speaker of our choice. Let us demand a speaker whose passionate prose can motivate even those with the least marketable skills among our philosophy, poli-sci and English majors, a speaker that might catapult our Elliott School students beyond government jobs and into more respectable occupations in internet porn and pyramid schemes. Let us demand, as past generations have longed to, William Shatner.

Only Shatner has the ability and experience necessary for this year’s commencement address. Imagine being sent out into the world with this fragmented bit of inspiration: as you . leave . this place . always . remember . to take a . dramatic pause . and think . priceline.com, priceline.com priceline.com.

But this is not only for us. It will benefit future graduates for generations to come. Just imagine how lost and alone the class of 2002 will be this time next year if the class of 2001 does not lead the way. They also need shoulders to stand on. If not for yourselves, then do it for them and for the 2002 GW Vagisil Commencement Celebration.

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