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Rose Richard

When my editor told me that Miss America was going to be the commencement speaker, I was totally bewildered. What does Katie Harman know about graduating from college? Now I feel kind of let down, like the administration got off cheap this year on a commencement speaker, just because she “goes here.”

That was my second beef with the decision. Frankly, I don’t recollect seeing her in the halls. I was under the impression she was taking the year off to fulfill the duties of being Miss America. So, technically, she’s not really a student here, is she?

Plus, what kind of achievement is becoming Miss America in this day and age? Sure it took a lot of balls to go on national television and do what Katie did, but why can’t she be fat, or maybe leave her armpits unshaven or want to take over the world instead of save it? Why can’t Miss America look more like most American girls? I mean, even the Oregonian does articles on her that slobber fawningly over how she can stay so skinny and yet remain so energetic! She says she has to actually eat more because she has so much to do! I wish I had that problem.

At any rate, if you want to look at her as a motivational speaker, she really is more appropriate for high schoolers seeking to enter college. I will agree that she is a good example of the benefits of becoming involved in extracurricular activities and having good grades. She has done quite a bit with herself in her 21 years.

What I’m not seeing is how she could possibly be a good commencement speaker. I mean, what is she going to talk about? Going out and getting a job? We know we have to find jobs. We have loans to pay off, because we didn’t get a $50,000 scholarship like some people!

What I would like to see in a commencement speaker is someone who has life experience, something that, for all her achievements, Katie Harman does not have. I want someone who is going to give us hope laced with reality, at the same time lauding our achievements.

Of course, we could have been Yale graduates of 2001. They had to sit through a speech by George W. Bush, who couldn’t even manage to get good grades in a school known for its grade inflation. That’s pathetic. And yet, some misguided individuals thought he’d be a good leader.

Just who would make a good commencement speaker? Colin Powell? Martha Stewart? Vera Katz? My personal favorite is Martha. She can teach us to make curtains out of our graduation robes when we’re finished with them. I’m planning on turning my mortarboard into an attractive centerpiece filled with grapes and other exotic fruits.

But I digress. I respect Katie Harman’s achievements. She is a very good singer, and I thought that it really kicked ass that she wore pants when everyone else wore skirts during the pageant. I’m glad she’s from Oregon, and I’m really glad she went to Portland State University at one time. I mean let’s face it, University of Oregon and Oregon State have good sports teams, but we can claim Miss America, whether she goes here or not.

I don’t think, however, that she’s going to inspire me when I graduate. I can’t become Miss America, because my ass is too big and I think I’m too old anyway. I can’t sing opera, because years of smoking and drinking have taken their toll. Anyway, you don’t have to be pretty or skinny to write well. The administration is probably patting itself on its collective back and grinning widely about how great this commencement will be. Maybe she waived her speaking fee because she “goes” here. Who knows. At any rate, I feel that Katie Harman is neither a good nor creative choice for commencement speaker.