Fier Thy Words

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Bob Who? Good Speaker Doesn’t Represent Whole Campus


by Scott Spinelli


Finally, I can relax, get some sleep at night. As a matter of fact, we all can. Reported earlier this week in this paper, the graduation speaker has been announced.

Feel free to drop out of that Facebook group – Shawn Carter isn’t coming. No, no, the university went in the direction we all prayed they would – Bob Woodruff is coming to the ‘Cuse.

“Sick, the Watergate guy!”

No, not him. Right Bob, right Wood, wrong, uh, suffix.

For those people that thought the Newhouse School is considered the most important institution on campus, this just about seals it.

Now, let me make one thing clear. I’m in no way suggesting Bobby Woodruff can’t do a good job, an inspiring job. Yet, as was the case last year, the university has immediately snuffed out a little thing called “hype.”

“Oh my Lord! Frank McCourt first, now Bob Woodruff! I might have to go to graduate school just to find out who they’ll bring next year.”

Honestly, how many people know who this dude is? If you have to look your speaker up on Wikipedia, it’s not a good sign.

I’ve discovered Woodruff is a former journalist (I did know that part), former ABC anchor and was injured in Iraq. Sounds like the perfect qualifications to speak to Newhouse students, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing, I am a Newhouse student, and I still don’t care about Bob Woodruff. What annoys me most is, in choosing him, the rest of the entire student body is ignored.

Though, in fairness, I feel like getting gypped out of a commencement speaker is something I could’ve seen coming. The signs are all around.

Take a look in front of DellPlain Hall. Good thing SU took away some more green space here, who wants to play catch, sit around on a nice day on anything other than rubble? I actually overheard a conversation between a few of the construction workers.

“So, for today, we’re just going to take this dirt over here and move it over there. When we’re done with that, we’ll just move that dirt…over here.”

How about those ridiculous thermometer signs in various buildings throughout the campus?

“Help us reach our goal! … Of one billion dollars!”

Come on already. First of all, just once, I’d love to put one of those thermometers in my house. “Help me reach my goal…of $25?”

Second, can we please have somebody break down where our tuition money goes? All I ask for, before I graduate, is to have someone just let me know how on Earth it’s possible that I pay more than $40,000, but I’m always being asked for more money.

Lab or course fees? What the hell is tuition other than a course fee? Honestly, if you’re going to charge a course fee, please stop insulting our intelligence and just make it something obscene like $1,000. After 40 grand, I still need to pay 75 extra bucks?

Still, even if you were blindsided by this Woodruff thing, fear not, I have some suggestions. The following people would easily make more buzz around campus. I can’t promise they’d be better choices, but they’d generate a little more excitement.

Sean Kingston. Sure, he’s not old enough to drink alcohol legally, and he’d be upset about the lack of beautiful girls at SU, but you can’t deny the fun that would come from hearing him shout “JR!” at the end.

The lead singer from Blues Traveler. I’m not sure of his name, but he has several useful pieces of advice to impart. First, the harmonica is a skill not worth investing in. Second, don’t blow your load in your first job – success is defined throughout multiple years or CDs, whatever.

Lieutenant Dan. No, not Gary Sinise, Lt. Dan. Logistically, it’d be easier if it was the Lt. Dan that had fake legs and showed up at the wedding with that Asian chick. But, it’d be a lot more meaningful if it was the angry, bitter, sea-faring Lt. Dan with long hair and a ragged wheelchair. Talk about a war hero, a guy who’s been through a lot. And, think of the whole crowd, at once, asking him if he wanted ice cream.

Scott Spinelli is the humor columnist for The Daily Orange where his columns appear every Thursday. He can be reached at He isn’t going anywhere for Spring Break, due to a lack of funds and friends.


March 6, 2008 - Posted by | Spinelli

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