It’s the season for pomp and circumstance — not to mention celebs scooping up honorary doctorates. But do the stars’ recent commencement speeches make the grade?
Columbia University’s School of the Arts, New York City
Pearls of wisdom: ”I thought to myself, ‘Why should I spend more time on your college graduation than I spent on my own?’ I have a degree, from high school, but I’m a f—ing millionaire.”
Report card: In a disjointed, mostly ad-libbed rant, Murray threatens the faculty, boasts about his academic ineptitude, and accuses certain grads of having ”multiple reproductive organs.” (Don’t ask.) C for coherence; A for comic value
Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif.
”I stare at the empty lines on my little yellow pad…while I ponder, ‘How can I possibly talk about this stuff without sounding like I’m pontificating?”’
Too late, Tommy. Selleck’s address is earnest, preachy, and weighed down by bone-dry statistics on shoplifting and ethics. Should have hired those Friends writers. C-
Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
”So you might wonder, ‘How in the hell did this goofball Mellencamp last so long?’ Well, he’s an okay songwriter. His shows are a little bit above average. Damn good-looking fellow, though!”
Disconcerting third-person references aside, the longtime Hoosier booster’s little ditty about staying honest and never ”kissing ass” provides some solid Midwestern motivation. B+
Salem College, Winston-Salem, N.C.
”As a 22-year-old anchorwoman, [I] had the misfortune of having a bad perm and losing all of my hair. And if you want to know who you really are, find yourself as a black, bald anchorwoman.”
Who hasn’t been there, sister? The media queen also plugs her book club, her magazine, and her TV show, but she’s so damn charming about it, she gets a pass. B
Southampton College, Southampton, N.Y.
”Good luck and good timing are probably just as important as a good education — although owning some nice waterfront property didn’t hurt. I’m sorry, but since I sold my house to Jerry [Seinfeld], it’s going to be more expensive than ever to live out here.”
The middle-aged rocker makes an impassioned plea to save Long Island’s scallops, oysters, and lobsters before closing with an original tune about seafood. Of all the shellfish-themed orations, one of the best. B
Cleveland State University, Cleveland
”I’ve always wanted to walk up to women and go, ‘Hey, baby, trust me — I’m a doctor.’ Now I can.” Also advises grads to ”get a new identity so the student-loan guy can’t find you.”
More beer-chugging, strip-club-frequenting college dropouts should give commencement speeches. A