357240460_d2eb6da658We’ll admit it, we’re a little bit bitter. The Daily Cal announced today that Chris Gardner, author of the memoir-later-turned-Will Smith film “The Pursuit of Happyness” will be this year’s graduation commencement speaker. Meanwhile, Steven Chu–Berkeley Professor, former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and recently appointed Secretary of Energy–will speak at Harvard’s commencement.

So Steven Chu–currently in the pursuit of alternative and renewable sources of energy and formerly director of LBNL–will be giving a speech to some Ivies over on the East Coast and Gardner–who lives in Chicago–will trek over to the West Coast to talk to us. So we get the ex-homeless guy who quotes dudes who can’t spell and Harvard gets the schmancy scientist man-turned-member-of-the-Cabinet. Isn’t this a waste of energy?

And in an even stranger commencement lineup, Michelle Obama will speak at UC Merced and Washington Math and Science Technical High School’s commencements. That’s right, we said UC Merced and high school. Now we’re definitely bitter. Apparently students at UC Merced actively sought out the First Lady as commencement speaker by writing letters to her, her office, and her friends and family. May we remind her of what happened

at Berkeley on VO (Victory of Obama) Day?

And to the Californians, the student group responsible for choosing the commencement speaker, it’s time to step up your game. The last few years have been pretty disappointing. Even if we couldn’t get Mrs. Obama, we would have settled for Sarah Palin, at least for the laughs.

Image Source: rUd under Creative Commons
Chris Gardner to Serve as UC Berkeley Commencement Speaker [Daily Cal]

panda said:
Apr 6, 2009 at 11:22 pm

damn, why trip out over commencement speakers? berkleys shouldn’t be entitled to having legit speakers. People going to Merced probably feel shitty enough already for going to Merced. And those high schoolers are probably poor.

Adam said:
Apr 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm


I’m usually a fan of your snark, but I have to comment on your jab at Gardner, whom you describe as an “ex-homeless guy who quotes dudes who can’t spell.”

Even if it were true that his spelling isn’t as pristine as yours (which it isn’t: “happyness” was an intentional misspelling), his actions far outweigh any such inability to spell.

I, for one, am proud that we’re having a commencement address from such a remarkable man, whose perseverance is so striking that it was glorified onto American film. Nitpicking on an intentional grammatical error to detract from his accomplishments is really trivial.

And who cares about an energy secretary? I think we beat out Harvard this year in terms of commencement speakers.

Adam said:
Apr 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Oh, I just realized you were making fun of the fact that he quoted a guy who can’t spell, not that he, himself, cannot spell. Sorry.

But it’s still trivial, like making fun of someone who quotes Rosa Parks when she said “My feet is tired.”

Mia said:
Apr 8, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Be sure to buy his new book which comes out days before graduation so you can understand where he’s coming from.

Spencer said:
Apr 10, 2009 at 9:18 am

Steven Chu? Yawn. Michelle Obama? Tell me something I haven’t heard before. Chris Gardner? Will Smith. Berkeley. SF. Bay Area. Finance. Economy. Self-made millionaire. Richer than Michelle or Barack. Actually interesting.

Carping about not having a big-name celebrity for UC Berkeley’s commencement while putting down the newest UC campus, it’s host city, and even a high school? Liberal snobbery at its finest.

UCB MechE said:
Apr 10, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Not only do you insult a fellow UC and a high school, the former of which actually took the initiative to seek out Obama (shudders), you are a bunch of ingrates and you couldn’t resist kicking a vanquished Palin.

Spencer @ 9:18am was right on the money.

No soup for you!

Fuck the ivies though, srsly.

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