Flames of the Torch

As the springtime slowly begins to creep upon us, seniors who are poised to graduate in May might be getting curious as to who will address them at their graduation ceremony. As the University has yet to announce this year’s commencement speaker, students will have to wait a little longer to find out.

A month ago the Torch published a staff editorial urging the University to bring in a big name for this year’s graduating class, an editorial the University quickly responded to in defense of past speakers who spoke at graduations. While the University may feel our criticisms of past speakers to be unnecessary, we feel this to be a matter of extreme importance.

In order to contribute our share in this year’s selection process, we’ve brainstormed three prominent candidates who already have connections to the University and would make excellent speakers. We present this list in hopes that the administration will take our pleas for a notable speaker to heart.  

Steve Lavin: Coach Lavin represents our top pick for this year’s commencement speaker. Lavin joined the St. John’s community last spring and, since then, has transformed the University.

Student engagement, spirit and pride are at an all time high in the wake of the men’s basketball team’s success, a movement that Lavin is at the helm of. No other person has brought more positive change to St. John’s in so short a time. He represents work ethic, passion and St. John’s pride.

Lavin has quickly won over fans and students with his personable interviews and upbeat, humble personality.  He’s a motivator, the coach that players want to play for—and over the past six months he’s become the face, voice and representative of this University. From the creation of “Lavinwood” at home games, it’s clear that this school has become gaga for Lavin. Students would undoubtedly love to have him speak at their graduation, but more importantly, he would probably love to do so.

Ray Kelly: One of this University’s most prominent living alumni, Ray Kelly is a New Yorker through and through and the city’s current police commissioner. Kelly’s influence in New York is lofty, and his service to this city has made him one of the heroes of the boroughs.

Ed McGuire: Currently the assistant general manager and executive vice president of football operations for the San Diego Chargers, Ed McGuire is a St. John’s alum that could both inspire and intrigue graduating students with his rise to success. Achieving the amount of success that McGuire has accomplished can only be motivating for students, as only two decades ago he also walked the campus as a student.

It will probably be another month before the administration announces information regarding this year’s speaker. Whether or not the University has already reeled in a speaker for this year’s graduation, we believe these names to be practical and inspiring options to be considered.

The University should not be hesitant to tap into the rich network of candidates that exist as a part of the St. John’s community. Steve Lavin, Ray Kelly and Ed McGuire would surely all be willing to take the podium and address this year’s class of St. John’s graduates.