TV star Matthew Fox went to his alma mater today to give the Class Day speech at Columbia College. Fox, class of 1989, was a controversial speaker choice amongst the Columbia community, given that other Columbia University schools had, er, Nobel Laureate and former Treasury Secretary types speaking. Just Jared has a partial transcript of his remarks:
“You may have an idea where you want to be in 20 years and some of you will get there. But if you do, I guarantee you won’t have let yourself take chances. Eighteen years ago sitting in these seats, as hung over as I was, I remember a sense of accomplishment & a sense of fear. In defining the future for yourselves, the safest choice may not be the best choice...
...Live for your own passion, not the aspirations or expectations others have for you. Trade fear for trust. Allow yourself to find that area either of your excellence or your excitement that motivates you to apply the same focus and energy that got you through Columbia. Whatever that area is, there is value in it simply because it is the area of your passion."
Uh, snooze? We probably owe Bwog a when-they-are-old-enough-to-drink beer for predicting this. But we bet lots of graduates were secretly thrilled. If only Fox wasn't wearing the stupid robe - we'd probably like his speech better if he were wearing a wet t-shirt and convincing us that Juliet isn't all bad. We're going to watch Conan O'Brien's Stuyvesant speech now.
You can watch video of Columbia's Class Day event, with special guest appearance from Matthew Fox here (he first appears around 29:34, just walking in...). And if you really want to talk about inspiring, this NY Sun article about local graduates is incredible: There's a 49-year-old Korean immigrant who grew up in Japan, was homeless, and is now graduating magna cum laude from CUNY's Baccalaureate program; a Rwandan refugee graduating from NYU (she went there with a full scholarship from the Jerry Seinfeld Family Scholarship Foundation); and an 84-year-old four-time cancer survivor who is graduating from Queens College.
Update: We've finally slogged through the video (damn you, Real Player) and Matthew is pretty charming. The crowd loves him (we couldn't hear any boos) and he seemed very bashful. Fox acknowledged how previous Class Day speakers were titans of industry (Robert Kraft), a senator (John McCain), and a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Tony Kushner). He said, "Yes, I can understand some of your skepticism. I understand the sentiment of your classmate Julia Kite. Is Julia out there today? I tend not to fall prey to the narcissistic exercise of reading your own reviews, but I did come across what she said to the Spectator, and I quote, 'I've never heard of this guy.'... Hi, Julia, I'm Matthew Fox!" Fox's speech starts around the 40 minute mark.
Photograph via Just Jared