Chicago mayor to give commencement speech

May 29, 2008 3:12:47 PM PDT
The commencement speaker choice has sparked a controversy among students at Northwestern University. Mayor Daley is scheduled to give this year's commencement address at Northwestern University but not all of the school's graduates are happy with the decision. Some say Mayor Daley doesn't carry the stature of previous commencement speakers.

Barack Obama, Bill Cosby and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have all given the commencement address at Northwestern University.

Now, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley will join the list when he addresses the class of 2008 next month.

"I'm a little disappointed by it, I was hoping for a bigger named speaker," said graduating senior Julia Fedor.

"Being from California, he doesn't affect me, I'm going back to California so Chicago politics aren't really going to affect my life after I leave here," said Deena Bustillo, a graduating senior.

While some students say they were hoping for what they call a more world-renowned speaker, others expressed anger at the school for choosing Daley.

In an email to Northwestern's President Henry Bienen, senior Matthew Braslow said: "I and many other students consider the choice of Richard Daley as an unequivocal slap in the face to the graduating seniors."

In response Bienen wrote back: "This is both a silly letter and a somewhat offensive one to write to me. You don't think Mayor Daley is well-known? He is considered among the leading mayors in the world. Matthew, grow up."

The fallout has some of Daley's supporters coming to his defense.

Pat Ryan, Chair of Northwestern's Board of Trustees, is a long-time friend of Daley. Ryan allegedly convinced Daley to speak at Northwestern. The mayor mainly gives graduation speeches at Chicago public schools.

For the soon-to-be graduates, many are just waiting to get their diplomas.

"To give up everything you've done for the past 4 years by not going to graduation is a little outrageous," said Sara Freedman, a graduating senior.

"The fact of the matter is I've had a phenomenal experience the past 4 years. The commencement speaker isn't going to ruin that for me one way or another," said graduating senior Dean Henley.

The graduation ceremony will take place on June 20.


Load Comments