Donald Newhouse Named SU's 2016 Commencement Speaker
For those of you who haven’t heard, Donald Newhouse was chosen as this year’s Commencement speaker. And, yes, it’s the same “Newhouse” that is etched into the building many of us enter or walk by everyday (well, close enough—S.I. Newhouse was his father). Donald Newhouse, along with his brother Samuel “Si” Newhouse, owns Advanced Publications, one of the largest private publishing companies in the U.S. It controls Condé Nast Publications (as in Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker), American City Business Journals, the Golf Digest Companies and multiple newspapers across more than 25 cities.
While some are excited to hear what Newhouse has to say to this year’s graduating class, others are concerned by the University’s selection. Newhouse is just another old (he’s 86), wealthy (he was #45 on Forbes 400 list in 2015 with a net worth of $10 billion), white guy. He is also the third media industry professional that has been chosen to deliver the commencement address in the past four years. In 2013, we had Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, and in 2014 we has David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. Clearly, the DO is right when saying SU’s list of commencement speakers lacks diversity. However, that isn't to say that we haven't had some pretty awesome speakers in the past. Here are a few of my favorites:
2006—Singer/songwriter Billy Joel
2005—Primatologist and Anthropologist Jane Goodall
2003—Former President of the United States Bill Clinton
1963—CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite
1957—U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy (before he became president)
I’m sure all of us are jealous of the class of 2006. Billy Joel even sang a song at the ceremony that he specifically wrote for the event. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I don’t think Newhouse will be singing to us.
Regardless of how you feel about this year’s selection, just remember seniors, we’re all stuck in that stadium for two and half hours. Two. And a half. Hours. My main concern isn't who’s speaking, but whether I’ll be able to stay awake long enough to even hear them.
Just kidding (kind of).