My favorite question to ask friends and colleagues this time of year is simple. "Who spoke at your graduation, and what did they say?" Some can't remember the answer to the first part of the question, much less the second.
I bet today's grads at Virginia Tech will always remember something from the commencement address delivered by Michelle Obama. She is the First Lady after all, with a pretty interesting perspective on what's going on in the world right now, no matter what your political leanings.
Ditto, right here in Lynchburg at Liberty University on Saturday. Mitt Romney is bound to deliver some headlines worth remembering. As the likely Republican candidate for President of the United States, this is not likely to be your average campaign stump speech.
Up the road at the University of Virginia next week, alum Katie Couric returns to the grounds to share some wisdom. I know a lot of folks don't like Katie, but I do – and I wish I could be there to hear her advice to the grads.
The best graduation speech I ever heard was at my daughter's graduation at Virginia Tech a few years back. NBC's Hoda Kotb spoke and it was classic. If you don't believe me, watch it here.
For me, my own graduation speaker was noted economist Dr. Milton Friedman. In that post-Watergate era, I was chomping at the bit and couldn't wait to get my broadcast journalism career started. The only thing I recall from what Dr. Friedman had to say was something about how the news media pretty much represented the lowest form of life, and shouldn't be trusted. Gee, thanks for the advice Doc, especially on my big day.
To the Class of 2012, no matter who speaks at your commencement, soak it in. Listen carefully and then get on with your life. And congratulations on your big day!