Dartmouth College awarded President Bush (41) an honorary degree at commencement over the weekend. Awarding the degree to Bush could not go without the usual academic controversy, alluded to by Joe Asch in his Dartblog post on the citation that accompanied the honorary degree.
Harvard alum Conan O’Brien was Dartmouth’s commencement speaker this year (the text and video of the commencement speech are posted here.) Bad things could be said about the choice of O’Brien, but I will say that he was a far better choice than Stephen Lewis, last year’s commencement speaker. Lewis paid tribute to Dartmouth’s president in fulsome terms that would have embarrassed an ordinary mortal. And O’Brien actually had something worthwhile to say. In an addendum to his post Joe credits O’Brien with the commencement’s best line:
Before I begin, I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero while I, a cable television talk show host, have been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today.
Indeed, that might be one of the best lines of this year’s commencements, period.