City Desk

The D.C. Commencement Speaker Matrix

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Sitting through a commencement address is surely among the least important things that happens during a college career. It’s also the one that inspires the most disproportionately passionate reactions. The announcement that Sean “Diddy” Combs would address Howard University graduates this spring was greeted by both cheers and some skepticism, since Combs is a Howard dropout. Reacting to the news that José Andrés would speak at their commencement, George Washington University students called the tapas innovator “some random chef” and “the guy who was obviously GW’s last resort.”

Which: Jeez. Whether a graduation speaker dispenses tired, pseudo-inspirational platitudes or soulful, David Foster Wallace–grade advice, their selection serves as a yearly signifier of status and bragging rights. So where does your speaker fit in the local pecking order? This matrix should help you craft your humble-bragging commencement-day tweets.

Due to an editing error, the chart originally misspelled Paul J. Diaz's name.

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  • Pop M

    Katie Couric, now with Yahoo News, at the same "star power" rating as the Diddy.... Even among the 'rents, the reaction is going to be sure i know what she used to do, but cannot for the life of me remember what she does now.

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