Tomorrow is graduation day at Middlebury College and everyone is waiting in suspense for former President Bill Clinton to speak to the Class of 2007 (address broadcast live at 10AM EST). I will indeed be there sitting in one of the thousands of seats set out on the massive quad lawn.
When Princeton Review named Middlebury in the top ten schools that “runs like butter,” they weren’t kidding. Graduation is a huge and amazingly coordinated event. Over the past week, it’s clear someone knows what is going on here and is really working hard behind the scenes. Massive white tents dot the campus with perfect catering, lighting, music, etc. at every event from the President’s BBQ to the Econ dept. gathering. Tomorrow’s graduation should be no different. Perfectly aligned seating, sound equipment, plants, banners, chairs, and free hydrating drinks should keep up appearences for Midd.
Many people have confused notions about graduation and graduation speakers, though. Most people think we’re paying Bill Clinton to speak. He’s quite pricy but, alas, we are getting him free in the tradition of free commencement speakers.
Jay Parini of the English Dept here at Midd predicts Bill will be quite boring despite all the hype. He cites the best graduation speaker in recent memory as Mr. Rogers who spoke here at Midd only a few years before he died. (text of Mr. Rogers’ speech in 2001)