What did you think? What did you hear? What did you see?
Official observations and contest adjudication will follow…
I’ve been waiting to write because I’ve been a bit dispirited by the whole experience for exactly the reasons stated in the comments already posted. Thanks to the commentators for having the zip to say what I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and type. Usually I feel picked up by the graduation. This year, it just felt anticlimactic. Pffftht.
My Personal Favorite Moment: The big “Wow!” right after Mayor Daley’s speech. An unexpected delight.
Things that Sucked: Waiting in a parking lot, that about 1400 of the students had left (along with 90% of the audience) by the time of the “tassle change,” that the speeches—what I could make of them—were all about the speakers and their individual achievement(s) and only tangentially about what it means to be college educated, about learning, or about the future and responsibilities of the educated (a passing mention in Mayor Daley’s speech is all I heard of that), the new tagline (did you see it on the flags?): “Education that Works” (puke).
Puzzlers: Honorary Professorship for the Mayor? Was that meant to be an honor or an insult? Only one valedictorian speaking? Did they draw straws?
Good Things: Though it was long, they kept a quick and steady pace with the degrees and names. It took five minutes to do the first two rows. So I counted the additional rows (there were 40) and projected that they’d be done at 9:15 (85 minutes from the 7:50 name calling start time); they finished at 9:21. Good pacing. It helped, too, that the Mayor RAN through his speech, reading right over the applause lines. It was a strange speech (“You can go to the Library and learn about great artists of the world”—it’s true, but kind of a strange thing to tell a bunch of people who just paid for an education in such things, no?), I thought, but at least he ran through it quickly (12 minutes or so). Not bad. The band. They did a nice job. Especially the Cymbals. Nice flippage.
Mathissexy continued his dominant run of prognostication. He shall be rewarded for it with $1 to buy a lottery ticket.
Avid_Reader (0 for 3)
~5 non student centered speakers—NO
Charlie (1 for 3)
~AV Problems—NO (but the sound was awful (per usual for that building)
~9:45pm—NO (over by 19 minutes; not bad)
Realist (0 for 3)
~Interactive Polls and Slides and AV Problems—NO
Alchemist (1 of 3)
~8:50pm—NO (but closest by Price Is Right Rules; not bad)
~Cell phone ringage onstage—NO (not that I’m aware of, anyway, but one person thought s/he spotted a Blue Tooth device in Aybar’s ear at one point. Unconfirmed.)
~Over/Under for Tribune coverage set at Page A20/3 click minimum—YES (I was unable to find any coverage at all, which makes this a winner by the second iteration)
MathisSexy (5 of 9, rounds up to 2 of 3)
~9:35—NO (But credit for being the closest, just 9 minutes over)
~4+ mentions of Chancellor’s OH experience—NO (one for sure, and then two more sentences about it, but that was it. The Mayor, I think, alluded to it, but did not reference it directly. I’m willing to be corrected on this, though).
~Mayor/Chancellor Hug—YES (a half hug, along with a cheek peck, but this happened, I think)
~Daley Leaves Early—YES (right after his speech, amazingly AS the Chancellor was conferring the degrees. Really? Couldn’t wait another minute for the conferral? Grrrrr.)
~10 Faculty in Need of Gown Adjustments—YES (Gown watching was an amusing part of evening. Many were in disarray before the ceremony.)
~Most of the lining up would occur about 20 minutes prior to the ceremony YES—This happened, leading many of us to wonder what the hell we had to be there two hours before the ceremony for AND wonder why we had to stand around in a line for 20 minutes doing nothing.)
~Presence of balloons, lasers, strollers, food, beverages, signs and other contraband—NO (Though I’m sure there were some in there somewhere, there was little of this. Not much celebration or hollering for people as they went either. Oddly, the audience was much less effusive than typical. This can be read two ways: the crowd was being respectful of the request to hold their applause OR most of them could not tell if and when their person was up on the stage/could not hear understand the names being called.) I found this incredibly dispiriting. Personally, I love the mini-celebrations; especially when they’ve been explicitly “outlawed.”
~Mathissexy wouldn’t be there—YES.
UsuallyConfused (0 for 3)
~9:38pm—NO (but close (12 minutes over); not bad)
~Call names of non-walkers to bolster impression—NO (Could be wrong, though. I heard a few faculty say this, but I think it is a confusion based on the fact that the names were not read in accordance with the walkers receipt of the degrees. Like usual, the candidates handed their name slip to someone, but UN-like usual, they were hustled toward the degree giver, regardless of where the reader was. Within the first three or four people of each degree group, a gap developed and the names being read fell behind the people receiving their degree, which meant that at the end of each group there were names being read but not people receiving degrees. The reason (I think) is that they’d already walked across and headed downstage toward their seat, and not that they were non-walkers. Could be wrong on this, though.)
~Someone will sleep on stage and nearly fall over—NO (I thought this was a guarantee; my money would have been on Aybar. It’s possible that he has learned to sleep with his eyes open at the School of the Americas, but if so, he’s very good at it and deserves credit for not betraying any obvious sign of sleepage. Neither did anyone else. If Perry had been on stage it would have happened, but no luck. A true disappointment of the evening.)
FairlyApparent (0 for 3)
~Don’t Stop Believing at the end—NO (Black Eyed Peas)
~Huge Disruption/Pink Elephant—NO (but about half way through, I was praying for one)
~9:59pm—NO (33 minutes over)
Jenny (0 for 3)
~9:37pm—NO (only 11 minutes over; not bad)
~4 non-student related speakers—NO
~HW Faculty member required to carry an Orange Flag—NO (but credit for the flag prediction; not bad)
Please post any corrections in the comments. I won’t see them until Monday, but I will see them then. Until then, carry on.