Most Likely To Inspire

If some of the big-name graduation speakers this season were part of a commencement class ...

May 21, 2008|By [Sun reporter] | [Sun reporter],Rob Hiaasen

It's clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds great pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get home by six o'clock. Woody Allen

Good morning.

To our honorary readers and to their family members and friends, we bring greetings. This is a season of personal reckoning, as commencements are under way at colleges and universities throughout Maryland. In great halls and on great lawns, graduates are implored to hitch their wagons to the stars, shoot for the moon and, by all means, with Godspeed.

This has also been a week of reckoning for the schools, which have hitched their stars to a diverse lineup of commencement speakers. Will they captivate and inspire -- or leave outgoing seniors "properly sedated?" as cartoonist Garry Trudeau once told graduates.

FOR THE RECORD - r

Who are the notable guests lending their big names to the commencements across the state this month? Most are familiar faces in politics, journalism and television. If they were in a commencement class themselves, here's how their yearbook entries might read:

Carl Bernstein Accomplishment: Author, journalist. Broke Watergate story with Bob Woodward Commencement: University of Maryland, College Park (tomorrow) Voted: Most Likely to Brighten Your Day Clubs: Debate; Journalism (Stories brought down high school administration.) Sports: Fencing Ambition: To have his own blog

Doreen Bolger Accomplishment: Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art Commencement: College of Notre Dame of Maryland (Saturday) Voted: Most Likely to Know the Difference Between Monet and Manet Club: Art Appreciation Ambition: To crack the Da Vinci Code

Francis Collins Accomplishment: Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute Commencement: University of Maryland, Baltimore (last Friday) Voted: Most Likely to Direct International Effort to Map and Sequence All Human DNA Club: The Blueprinters Glee Club Ambition: To discover why male DNA causes men to leap across public toilets at major horse-racing events

Elijah E. Cummings Accomplishment: Maryland congressman Commencement: Coppin State University (last Sunday) Voted: Most Likely to Be a Politician Distinctions: Junior class president; senior class speaker pro tempore Sports: Football; basketball; varsity football head coach; varsity basketball head coach; football and baseball commissioner Ambition: To grill Mark McGwire about steroid use

Loida Lewis Accomplishments: CEO, Beatrice Foods Inc.; author; lawyer; philanthropist; industrialist; wife of the late Baltimore business mogul Reginald Lewis Commencement: Morgan State University (last Sunday) Voted: Most Likely to Own the Western Hemisphere Club: Business Professionals of America Ambition: To become a slacker

Matthew Modine Accomplishment: Director, actor: Full Metal Jacket and Married to the Mob Commencement: Goucher College (Friday) Voted: Most Likely to Become a Movie Star Club: Drama Ambition: To work with director Stanley Kubrick and to kiss Michelle Pfeiffer -- but not at the same time

Bill Nye Accomplishment: Longtime host of TV show Bill Nye, The Science Guy Commencement: The Johns Hopkins University (tomorrow) Voted: Most Likely to Spontaneously Combust Club: Future Scientists of America Sports: Pingpong Ambition: To not spontaneously combust

Bob Parsons Accomplishment: Founder of GoDaddy, Internet domain registry whose racy Super Bowl commercials were censored Commencement: University of Baltimore (today) Voted: Most Likely to Become a Millionaire Club: Yearbook (stepped down as editor midyear after principal deemed yearbook photos "offensive") Ambition: To enter the seminary

Paul S. Sarbanes Accomplishment: Former U.S. senator from Maryland Commencement: University of Maryland Baltimore County (tomorrow) Voted: Most Likely to Introduce First Article of Impeachment Against President Richard Nixon Clubs: The Young Democrats; Accounting Ambition: To host a reality TV show where ballroom dancers team up with celebrities

David Simon Accomplishment: Writer; producer; creator of HBO's The Wire Commencement: Washington College (last Sunday) Voted: Most Likely to Become Really, Really, Really Successful Extracurricular activities: Editor, newspaper; producer, acclaimed miniseries The Homeroom Distinction: Winner of High School Daytime Emmy Award Ambition: To write Victorian romance novels

Leslie Stahl Accomplishments: Journalist; longtime host of Face the Nation and 60 Minutes Commencement: Loyola College (last Saturday) Voted: Most Likely to Have Lunch With Andy Rooney Extracurricular activities: Made morning announcements; produced school news program, 75 Seconds Ambition: To avoid anchoring the CBS Evening News

Helen Thomas Accomplishment: Longtime White House correspondent for United Press International Commencement: McDaniel College (Saturday) Voted: Most Likely to Get in the Last Word; Teacher's Pet (always sitting in the front row) Clubs: Yearbook; Journalism Sports: Field hockey Ambition: To never, ever retire

rob.hiaasen@baltsun.com

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