I love Mindy Kaling. I really do. But her commencement address at Harvard Law School was rather … Mindy Kaling-focused … to put it politely. I don’t understand why she was invited to speak (she doesn’t seem to understand why herself), because most of what Mindy Kaling had to say was about Mindy Kaling. I guess it’s always exciting to have a big Hollywood star at your graduation. But I bet Harvard Law is wishing they had gone with someone a little more esteemed, or at least with a little more to say. [NYMag.com]
Graduation is a big deal. Plenty of people like to see it as the total culmination of a young person’s character and dedication. As the greeting cards say, “You Earned It Champ!” Earning a degree isn’t easy and deserves celebration.
The catch, though, is that celebratory public events like commencement are a prime breeding ground for Special Snowflakes and that makes life a whole lot harder for those who are unlucky enough to trespass into the glow of their imaginary limelight. Keep reading »
I have to give some props to recent graduate Robert Jeffrey Blank. Who else is brave enough to attempt a backflip in front of thousands of your peers and closest family members, all in the name of some extra attention? But the ex-Davenport University student didn’t exactly stick his landing — in fact, he fell flat on his face, but who even cares? Something tells me his epic attempt still made everyone in that auditorium pay attention. [KDVR Denver]
The University of Texas at Austin had to make a major apology to its graduates after accidentally producing commencement materials listing its School of Public Affairs as a School of “Pubic” Affairs. Because they felt really bad about it, the school issued an apology via Twitter, noting, “Our deepest apologies to our 2012 graduates for the egregious typo in our program. We are working to distribute corrected programs.” In the meantime, let’s have fun imagining what the School of Pubic Affairs might cover. Sex scandals? STDs? Weird-looking penises? Let’s hope so! [Yahoo]
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Graduation speeches are tough. You have to avoid the usual cliches about how students are floating on the sea of life or opening the doors to their future, and that isn’t easy. My college graduation speaker—some bigwig woman at the World Bank—hit both of those. Not that you could hear over the protesting of my fellow classmates. So I’m feeling a teensy bit jealous that the lucky ducks over at Harvard have such an awesome graduation speaker—the amazing and hilarious Amy Poehler. “We wanted someone people could recognize, who could give a funny and engaging speech,” the school’s class marshal explained. “During her time on ‘SNL,’ Amy was a part of our growing up, and there’s no doubt she’s pretty hilarious.” Not to mention that she’s also a Boston native.
This got me thinking—who would I have liked to see give my commencement address? Some picks after the jump. Keep reading »
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J. Courtney Sullivan’s debut novel, Commencement, takes place at Smith College, an all-women’s institution known for being home to the pearls and sweater-set types as well as radical lesbians. Following four unlikely friends through their years at school and beyond, the book balances the humor of ladies college life and the drama of post-grad confusion. It’s a delectable page turner, but, more importantly, touches on many issues that twenty-something women face today. We asked Sullivan about Commencement and what women can learn from being young and being together. Keep reading »
Smith College is unlike any other American university. An all-women’s school, it’s an historically posh place for educating the elite (like alums Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, and Julia Child), yet at the same time, it’s a breeding ground for liberal lesbians so intense they’ll risk everything for a cause. You can’t really know what to expect there, which is what four dorm mates find when they start first year. The group, which includes a slightly-smelly radical, a lapsed Catholic, an engaged southern belle, and a prepster, become unlikely friends who navigate this special world where feminism is omnipresent, but comes in different forms from rules for girl-on-girl shower times to protesting sex trafficking. The first half of the book takes place at Smith, where much of the entertainment comes from learning about everyday oddities like acronyms for girls who go gay (SLUGs: Smith Lesbian Until Graduation). The second half turns more serious when the four women graduate and find themselves struggling to maintain their friendships and define themselves as feminist women in the real world.
Commencement may be billed as a great summer read, but it has far more depth than your average women’s lit. While fiction, Sullivan’s bright and witty prose weaves itself around real places—the ivy-covered paths of the liberal arts world and the imposing concrete streets of Manhattan—that feel familiar and relevant to real women. [$24.95, Amazon.com] Keep reading »