Education

Grading The 2016 College Commencement Speakers: The Daily Caller’s GINORMOUS List

clockwise from top left: Reuters/Jim Young, YouTube screenshot/Crusader Chan, YouTube screenshot/Movieclips, Getty Images/Oli Scarff, Reuters/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters/USA Today Sports

Spring is in the air, America, and college commencement season is upon us.

After four — or five, or six — years of keg stands and studying a few hours a week, this year’s crop of special snowflakes is about to be slapped right upside the head by the cold, cruel real world.

As is tradition, the very last brush with the campus cocoon for America’s newly-minted 2016 graduates will involve sitting in a gown and a silly hat while listening to some speaker who shows up for a couple hours (frequently in exchange for a very large wad of cash).

In this impressively comprehensive list, The Daily Caller provides brutally honest grades to a slew of celebrities who will speak (or, in some cases, have already spoken) at various commencement ceremonies around the country in 2016.

President Barack Obama is slated to give 2016 baccalaureate addresses at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Howard University. On the one hand, it’s the president. That’s always cool. On the other hand, security will be a royal mess and Obama can’t run for anything now, so what can he say that will be memorable? What has he ever said that is memorable? Incidentally, Condoleezza Rice abruptly withdrew from speaking at the 2014 Rutgers commencement address amid faculty and student protests denouncements of her as a “war criminal.” Obama has been responsible for killing many, many people in far-flung lands. Why the eerie silence now? Anyway: B.

Mega-wealthy, left-wing actor Matt Damon, a college dropout, will be the featured commencement speaker at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Damon, 45, is most famous as the star of “We Bought A Zoo” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” His star turn in “Team America: World Police” is probably his best work. F.

Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, will speak at the commencement at Northern Virginia Community College. Obviously, Biden is a relatively big fish for this little school. At the same time, Democrat John Nance Garner of Texas once described the vice presidency as “not worth a bucket of warm piss.” What, then, is it worth to listen to the vice president’s spouse at your graduation ceremony? C-.

Kareem in the cockpit YouTube screenshot MovieclipsDrew University, a liberal arts college amid the suburban sprawl of New Jersey, will host basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as its commencement speaker. The 6-time NBA MVP won 6 world championships as a player (and two as an assistant coach). He is arguably — arguably — the best basketball player of all time and a pupil of American hero John Wooden. Listen hard, Drew grads. You may learn something about greatness. A.

It’s hard to beat Kareem — and TheDC doesn’t give out anything better than an A very often — but Duke University has managed both feats by inviting its very own men’s basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, as the 2016 commencement speaker. Expect a standing ovation, an outpouring of school spirit and a stem-winder of a meaningful speech from the 5-time NCAA champion and coach of the United States men’s national basketball team. A+.

Olin College of Engineering is a tiny, serious, difficult school in the suburbs of Boston specializing in very demanding and intense subjects. Why, then, would its administration invite New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman — America’s quintessential spewer of overly simplistic conventional wisdom — to give a commencement address? F.

Ritzy Hamilton College, a school in upstate New York most notable for recently bringing back the disgraceful legal doctrine of separate but equal for its minority students, will host billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel for its 2016 graduation ceremony. Hopefully — but doubtfully — Thiel can impart a couple things about the real world to Hamilton’s trustafarian rich kids before they get their diplomas. B.

Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie Gaffigan are the commencement speakers at the Catholic University of America. Jim Gaffigan is a hilarious observational comic — and an observant Catholic. Students will certainly be entertained, which is much more than you can say for most speakers on this list. Hopefully, Gaffigan can work in something about Hot Pockets — a food way too many college students end up consuming way more than they should. A.

Bizarro leftist environmental zealot and former Obama administration official Van Jones, whose name appeared on a 2004 petition from 911Truth.org that suggested the Bush Administration “may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen,” will speak to the graduates of Middlebury College, a once-great liberal arts school that is rapidly turning into a sewer of goofball leftism. F.

Carthage College, a small Evangelical Lutheran liberal arts college in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, will host House Speaker Paul Ryan. True, Ryan represents the Wisconsin district where Carthage is located. Still, it’s not every graduation you get to hear from the man two heartbeats away from the presidency — at such a pivotal juncture in his career. A.

Bloomberg hot dog Getty Images Oli ScarffBillionaire Michael Bloomberg, the last remotely decent mayor of New York City, spoke at the commencement festivities at the University of Michigan this year. Normally, this space would be reserved for wisecracks about graduates bringing 1,024-oz. Big Gulps and guzzling them as they traipse across stage. This year, however, Bloomberg skewered the creation of “safe spaces” on college campuses. “The fact that some university boards and administrations now bow to pressure groups, and shield students from these ideas through safe spaces, code words, and trigger warnings, is in my view a terrible mistake,” he said, being met with mixed reactions from the crowd. “The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations, not to run away from them.” A-.

George Washington University, America’s dirtiest, rottenest, cheatingest, lyingest college, has boasted not one but two cheating scandals by administrators determined to make the school look better than it actually is. How utterly perfect, then, that New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker  America’s lyingest member of Congress — will give the 2016 commencement address at the overpriced Washington, D.C. school. D+.

Condoleezza Rice, who served as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, will speak during the commencement ceremony at High Point University, a school in North Carolina which seems to manage to score big-time graduation speakers on a perennial basis. Rice is currently a faculty member at Stanford University and a green jacket-owning member of the Augusta National Golf Club. A-.

Spike Lee is a wealthy Hollywood director who made amazing, provocative movies on meager budgets about 25 years ago, but has been phoning it in with big-budget flicks for a good two decades now. He’ll give the commencement speech at Johns Hopkins University. C-.

Weirdo filmmaker and transcendental meditation enthusiast David Lynch will speak give the 2016 commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management, a school in Fairfield, Iowa that specializes in — depending on who you talk to — either crackpot theories and cult-like behavior or “consciousness-based education.” In any case, it’s pretty much a match made in Swarga Loka. B-.

First lady Michelle Obama will speak at Jackson State Universitywhere she has wreaked havoc and angered parents by repeatedly rescheduling — and at City College of the City University of New York. Security will no doubt be a hassle. Lettuce and skim milk will possibly be served. No word yet on whether jumping jacks and abdominal crunches will required. B-.

Rukmini Maria Callimachi, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, will give the commencement address at Connecticut College, an obscenely overpriced bastion of the liberal arts where “junior class women dressed in white carry chains of laurel” during graduation ceremonies and each senior receives a pine sapling “which they carry as they march.” The Daily Caller is a little confused about this selection. We had a number of excellent interns this spring who almost certainly would have given a better speech at a more reasonable fee. F.

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(Photo credits: Reuters/Jim Young, YouTube screenshot/Crusader Chan, Reuters/Majed Jaber, YouTube screenshot/Movieclips, Reuters/USA Today Sports, Reuters/Lucas Jackson, Reuters/Fred Prouser, YouTube screenshot/jimgaffigan, YouTube screenshot/Big Think, Reuters/Paul Cameron, Getty Images/Oli Scarff, Reuters/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters/Mike Segar, Reuters/Shannon Stapleton, YouTube screenshot/Nova PBS Official, Reuters/Kevin Lamarque, YouTube screenshot/PBS NewsHour)