It seems the folks in Boulder ran out of speaking options, because they signed up one of the mast famous alums to put the grads through one more boring lecture. Kirk Bohls in the Austin American-Statesman reports:
"Does anybody listen at commencement speeches?" said Tom Purtzer, who left Arizona State eight hours shy of a degree. "They're kids. It's not like they're paying attention. You're so excited to just get out."
Irwin gets it. As he puts it, "they get a piece of paper and good friends. You don't know what you take away until you look back years later when you have to ask, 'Did I apply myself?' "
He did, and he still is.
Following the advice he received from former Supreme Court associate justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Irwin plans to follow his heart and say what he really feels. So he'll get something off his chest to the cap-and-gown crowd.
Respect your elders.
"I'm going to talk about respect," he said. "That's something young people don't do very often."
Oh how I have missed Scott Hoch:
Hoch applauded Irwin for the high honor of joining the elite company of those who give commencement addresses, a list as diverse as Steve Jobs and Billie Jean King. Hoch graduated as well — "I'm one of the few" — completing his communications degree at Wake Forest in 4 1/2 years when the dean convinced him to give up the notion of an economics major because of the demands of travel with college golf.
He takes mild exception to the fact that Arnold Palmer gave the headliner speech at Wake Forest in 2005. Arnie had an army but no diploma.
"My feeling is you shouldn't give it unless you graduate," the candid Hoch said. "But Arnold's Arnold. People probably would get more out of his speech."