Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 28 comments on Meredith Vieira Chosen as 2015 Commencement Speaker

  1. Never underestimate the potential for disappointment with a BU commencement speaker.

    You should not have to google your commencement speaker’s name to find out who she is and why she is important. I’m not belittling the accomplishment of Mrs. Vieira, but it’s amazing that a school with as much clout and funding as BU has consistently chooses the most uninspiring and dismal speakers for the graduation ceremony. I’m not sure if the speaker is just an appeasement to COM, as the past speaker was, and as the speaker before her was an appeasement to SED, but it seems to me that a pattern emerges upon closer inspection.

    The university commencement speaker should be someone inspiration, influential, and above all, have a message for students to carry into the future. I’m sorry, but a talk-show co-anchor just doesn’t fit the three prongs of that test. With the money that BU has, or better yet, with the money that President Brown and the Board of Trustees has at its disposal we should be able to get speakers of distinguished repute. Why the university cannot pick a leader in the academic world to highlight the value of applied knowledge, or the business world to highlight the value of skilled and intellectual individuals within the economy is just downright sad. Better yet, choose an innovator or an influential member of the community. Choose a climate scientist or any scientist! Someone who plays a role in the engineering of the future and has something to which it is worth listening and remembering!

    I guess that’s just too difficult a task for the Board and our administrators. If they put half as much thought into the commencement speaker as they did the next year’s tuition increase or funding for each college, we’d have someone worth hearing.

    1. What a wonderful speaker she will be! It’s too bad that you think of her as just a talk-show anchor. She has a talk show now, but she is also an accomplished journalist with ties to the area. Additionally, she’s a wonderful advocate for those with MS. The partnership she and her husband have and how he lives with MS is incredibly inspiring.

      1. These are all excellent accomplishments, however, it doesn’t seem that she has been chosen for most of the reasons that you’ve given. From the article, she was chosen for her journalism career and not for her philanthropy.

        I’m not knocking her or her accomplishments. She might make an excellent commencement speaker for a school like Syracuse, where journalism is germane and vital. For a research institution like BU, though, I feel that better choices could be made.

    2. Wendy Kopp was NOT an appeasement to SED. She was quite the opposite actually, as Teach for America encourages those without education degrees,licensure, or extensive classroom experience (all of which SED helps its students obtain) to enter into difficult classroom situations for which they are in many cases not prepared.

      1. You seem to be missing the fact that an advocate for teaching does fall somewhere within the jurisdiction of SED. She may not have been speaking directly to SED students, or other interested groups, but her background and the reasons for choosing her were teaching.

        Teachers are important. Wendy Knopp was far from a terrible choice for commencement speaker. You haven’t proven, though, that the choice to have her speak has nothing to do with SED or the fact that there have been so few SED-relevant speakers.

        1. Wendy Kopp was a horrible choice for commencement speaker, so much so that several professors boycotted the commencement ceremonies because they didn’t want their presence in any way, shape, or form to be misconstrued as an endorsement of Ms. Kopp.

          Ms. Kopp herself has said that TFA was never meant as a vehicle to develop teachers; it was meant as a vehicle to develop business leaders. It is abominable that grads cut their leadership skills on the backs of our neediest students and then cut out of Dodge to make their fortunes. As an educational administrator, I can tell you that those TFAers who stay have been a Godsend. However, let’s not laud Ms. Kopp as if she has created something noble for education in America. No way was her selection an appeasement for SED.

    3. I agree with Thomas. It sounds like you are a little close-minded. Just because she is not a scholar who is conducting research doesn’t mean she is not an influential and inspiring person (which I think she is. She is an accomplished journalist who uses her fame for good). BU is a very big school and they need to find someone who will appeal to most people, which is a difficult task. I think they did a good job.

      1. I resent being called closed minded. I would be open to any number of speakers, as I said in my comment. The caveat is, as I also said, relevance and influence. Vieira may be very accomplished in her own right, but as a commencement speaker, it seems the choice is out of place. And I agree wholeheartedly that BU is a very large school which complicates the choice. Having a broadcaster speak at the ceremony does in fact cover all of the bases as you say. But there is no reason to believe that another more innovative and high-profile speaker would not also cover all of the bases, and be at least as much of an inspiration to the entire student body.

        As I responded above, it isn’t that Vieira isn’t accomplished. I intended to highlight that BU has a knack for picking commencement speakers that do anything but thrill and enthrall the graduating class.

        1. If you think it is a commencement speaker’s mission to thrill and enthrall, then yes, Meredith is a poor choice. If however you think it is a commencement speaker’s role to inspire as these grads set out into the world, then I think she is a fine example for all the grads.

    4. Wow…it is amazing that you have determined that Ms. Vieira doesn’t meet your standards ….. without even hearing her speak. How can you assume that she doesn’t have “a message for students to carry into the future”? Frightening that such a closed mind and ignorant philosophy is at the University. Hopefully, at some point, your narrow little viewpoint and ‘judgmental’ attitude will mature. Perhaps you should keep your disparaging remarks to yourself, to keep from openly displaying your ignorance and intolerance.

      1. It isn’t my standards that Vieira has to meet, it’s a standard of relevance. And I’m sure that she will have a very well-scripted speech to deliver to the audience.

        I am also infuriated that you would insinuate that I am closed-minded and ignorant. Perhaps you are too closed minded to consider the fact that better choices could have been made? As a matter of fact, closed minded would mean accepting without question the choice as excellent instead of giving thought to why she was chosen and pondering if there is someone better and more suited to the position. If you yourself were a mature, open-minded, intelligent, and thoughtful individual, you might arrive at a similar conclusion.

        And it quite clearly begs your position to say “keep your disparaging remarks to yourself” when, in fact, you have disparaged me for sharing my viewpoint. As a matter of fact, it seems to indicate a certain degree of closed-mindedness, especially if you are unwilling to hear any opinion other than your own. That would also support a description of yourself as intolerant.

        You are the one that needs to mature and lose the intolerance and subtle ignorance if you cannot handle disagreement. Universities are centered around the exchange of ideas and the expression of viewpoints. If it offends you to hear someone say something that you don’t agree with, then perhaps you’d be better off in another community.

    5. I echo what Jake said. Wendy Kopp was an INSULT to SED, not an appeasement. If you were informed you would know that…AND would know who Meredith Vieira is and that she represents much more than her stints as a talk show host represent. I am very much looking forward to commencement and hearing what she has to say to the Class of 2015.

      1. Well Judge, you weren’t as complimentary to Viera as being accomplished until your follow up comments. She does meet your criteria of relevant and influential if you ask most people, but obviously she does not to you. You would just prefer a different type of background or influencer. As an alum and long time employee I know that the realty is every year many students are disappointed that it isn’t Tina Fay!

    6. Meredith who? This is clearly a case of a long, late attempted reach for someone who has (some) name recognition as all the major stars must have been booked. BU would have been better suited to have selected a virtual unknown with a legitimate story to tell, like a marathon bombing survivor or wounded combat veteran who has overcome great challenges or a medical professional working to tamp down Ebola in Africa to talk about their struggles and a motivational stirring of our emotions. Putting the lime light on a celebrity for them to get on their shine box for the sake of their name is a poor choice for this great day. But then again, maybe TMZ will cover the BU Commencement…free advertising I guess.

      I am disappointed and will remain seated when she is announced, look for me.

    7. I will file this among the petty complaints from people who are perpetually looking to bash BU, the faculty/staff, administrators and Board of Trustees – and miserable within their own lives!

      Judge – It is pretty simple: if you don’t like the choice of the Commencement speaker – don’t go to Commencement.

      The amount of time, effort and negative energy you have expended complaining about the speaker far exceeds what I expect will be the length of Meredith Vieira’s speech.

      1. I’m not looking to “bash” anyone. And if you consider it a “petty” complaint, then by all means file it away in a cabinet in your office of superiority. And I’m far from miserable with my own life. As a matter of fact, I’ve truly enjoyed my experiences at BU. While I won’t be going to commencement regardless, that doesn’t mean that I cannot and should not voice an opinion on the subject.

      2. Well said! That person was getting annoying.

        I just think that more transparency into the selection process would be good. There’s such a huge variation in speakers from year to year. The year I entered BU (1989), we had PresidentS Bush and Mitterand. Two world leaders. When I graduated in ’93, we had Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood and not a single person applauded in the GSU when Silber announced the speaker’s name. It’s quite possible that after 1989, everything seemed downhill from there. So I think it would help if students had a window into the process and perhaps be allowed to give some suggestions. But regardless of who the speaker is, it will undoubtedly be a great speech.

  2. Congratulations to Dr. Pamela Templer for receiving a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. It is well-deserved. Pam is a wonderful mentor and does so much for young scientists!

  3. Any word on who the speakers will be at the ceremonies for the other colleges (i.e. SED, Sargent, etc.)? Or where we can find this information?

  4. With a 100K student loan, no job or guaranteed job placement and a future that’s so unpredictable, it really doesn’t matter who confers the speech.

  5. The merits of Mrs. Viera aside, the call sign for the local channel on which her program is aired is WCVB, also known as channel 5, not WCBV.

  6. We are living through **absolutely revolutionary** times in the sciences, particularly those that benefit from the technologies that make the **entire** content of organisms’ genomes — including humans, of course — literally open books (well, not quite, but close…). It’s virtually certain that the consequences of these developments will transform agriculture, medicine, and most widely used technologies. Not to have a **single** representative of this overwhelming development on the platform at commencement is a sad commentary on the superficiality of our culture… Let’s hope that the administration has plans for something better in the future… How about Francis Collins (Director of NIH) for example? Or Jennifer Doudna a **very** distinguished faculty member at UC Berkeley (pioneer of the CRISPER technology that opens the way to remaking any and all genomes — including Homo sapiens’ genome…? There are plenty of distinguished candidates who might not only tell some good jokes, but also could alert the audience to developments in molecular biology that will soon transform human life — and the lives of any other species we may choose to modify!

  7. It seems that I am not the only one disappointed in the choice of commencement speaker. In reply to most of the comments lauding the choice of Mrs. Vieira, simply because the chosen individual meets your standards for a commencement speaker does not entitle you to reject disagreement. Perhaps it isn’t my standard that it too high, but that your standards are too low. There are brilliant people working in many, many different fields from science and research to humanities and business. Individuals who have disagreed, including myself, do not need to carry the burden of giving precise names for better candidates. Those who think that Vieira will make a wonderful speaker have also yet to deny that a better speaker could have been proposed. They have stopped, sat on their behinds, and accepted what was handed to them. Again, what a terribly close-minded approach. I suppose that they would have others, including myself, think “how dare we choose to question and disagree to vet the choice?”

    Scott’s comment was quite poignant and on target. And he listed names, if that is what the supporters so desperately needed to verify any dissent. There were better choices for speaker, and they weren’t picked. Ipso facto, BU did not make the *best* decision possible, even by the supporter’s rationale.

    1. Judge, all commencement speakers aside, the fact that you continue with your incessant posting in rebuttal against counter-opinions on what is ultimately a mundane subject in the grand scheme of things indicates to me some degree of either insecurity or an insistence that you have to be correct. This idea of someone’s gotta be right and someone’s gotta be wrong is polarizing, especially on something so trivial in the grand scheme. You assert that Meredith is a lousy choice for commencement speaker………okay, you may be right. Others here and I assert that she is not……okay we may be right. Personally, I’d like to see such extended dialogue on more pressing issues of the day. For that reason……..I have damn near embarrassed myself for posting four remarks here on the subject. Let it go, dude. Society needs your passion (and your gift of articulation) in other arenas.

  8. What a vapid choice. This is what counts as aspirational at BU and represents the kind of career to which our students should strive?

Post a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *