Last week, I wrote an entry about William Bowen’s comments at the Haverford College graduation. I was there to watch my daughter graduate and kept my entry brief because spending time with family trumped any urge to pontificate. I’m back for my last week as a department chair at USF and wanted to follow up on some of the topics I mentioned last week, as well as respond to this morning’s argument of Michael Rushmore, one of the graduating students who wrote Robert Birgeneau some weeks ago.
- The better speakers at Haverford this year. The publicity over Birgeneau’s withdrawal and Bowen’s remarks distracted from the other honorary degree recipients at Haverford this year, poet Elizabeth Alexander and Environmental Defense Fund head Fred Krupp. Alexander read one of her poems about nineteenth-century educator Prudence Crandall, and I will fully admit my bias as an historian of education in judging her as the best speaker.1
- The birds on the green agreed: they were singing through the poetry reading. [↩]