daily californian logo


Apply to The Daily Californian!

The Clog's ultimate commencement speaker wishlist

article image


We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

APRIL 24, 2019

As the spring semester comes to a close, UC Berkeley is already preparing for its spring commencement ceremony. On May 18 at Memorial Stadium, the Class of 2019 will have the honor of hearing from Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, this year’s commencement speaker. Here at the Clog, we’ve wondered who else we’d like to hear from at future commencement ceremonies, so we’ve compiled our own ultimate wishlist of these seven ultimate individuals to impart their wisdom on UC Berkeley’s graduates.

Michelle Obama

Lawyer, administrator, writer and former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama is an American icon, the most educated first lady ever (with degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School) and an all-around role model. From growing up on the south side of Chicago to becoming a key figure in American history, we have no doubt that Michelle Obama has an infinite amount of wisdom to share with graduates on how to be the best version of themselves.

Tom Hanks

Oscar award-winning actor Tom Hanks would make an excellent commencement speaker, as he’s had a very successful career in Hollywood, and growing up in Concord, California, he’s always been close to Berkeley. With a reputation as one of the nicest people in Hollywood and his experience playing pivotal and historically significant roles such as Walt Disney, Tom Hanks would probably be able to advise all of us on how to live a better, fuller and happier life.

Elon Musk

A controversial and pivotal figure of our time, Elon Musk represents what every UC Berkeley student hopes to become: a wealthy nerd who can say practically anything with zero consequences. Serving as CEO to numerous companies and groundbreaking projects, Musk’s reputation, while imperfect because of his Twitter account, is incredibly inspiring, and his imperfect nature makes him the perfect commencement speaker because life is imperfect. Elon Musk has tons of valuable advice and wisdom to impart on the youth of today, and would you rather read it off of Twitter or hear it in Memorial Stadium?

Olivia Pope

Olivia Pope would arguably be the greatest thing to ever happen to UC Berkeley, considering her influence, intelligence and experience in the political arena. A powerhouse and formidable figure in Washington, she’d probably have something incredibly wise to share with us, all while looking incredibly polished and reminding us that even though we go to UC Berkeley, the No. 1 public school in the nation, she went to Princeton University and then Georgetown Law School, so as always, she has the upper hand.

Tyrion Lannister

Coming from one of the wealthiest families in Westeros, Tyrion Lannister has never had to work a day in his life; however, that didn’t stop him from saving King’s Landing at the Battle of the Blackwater or becoming the hand of Daenerys Targaryen as she slowly brings the Seven Kingdoms under her command. Despite being constantly ridiculed for his dwarfism and underestimated because of the way he looks, he’s one of the most intelligent people ever, and he’d probably be able to share incredible stories and impart wisdom on the entire UC Berkeley community.

Kacey Musgraves’ Grammys

Although you probably wouldn’t expect it, Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy awards have gained a lot of wisdom, whether they’re the ones awarded to the singer earlier this year or the ones she won five years ago. Either way though, they’ve certainly learned a lot, being present to many yeehaws, and in the hands of multiple celebrities presenting the awards, making them inherit the wisdom of their predecessors and giving them a crucial edge to succeed in the music industry. And as we like to say at the Clog, if you can make it in the music industry, you can make it anywhere. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be held by Alicia Keys? Either way, these Grammy awards could deliver a beautiful soliloquy to this year’s UC Berkeley graduates.

Those shoes that were thrown at George Bush

While there are many interesting stories and firsthand accounts in the world, none resemble the unique perspective of the loafers flung from across the room at former president George Bush. If these shoes could talk to the UC Berkeley community, they’d probably have much to share about their seconds long journey flying through the air toward the president; everything they were going through, as well as what those seconds taught them about life, loss and how to succeed in the 21st century, making them an exceptional candidate to speak at the next commencement ceremony.

Contact Zachary Abuel-Saud at [email protected].

APRIL 24, 2019