Stop the presses! “Visual Rhetoric” fav new phrase for author

Yep. Today, Jon Meacham said his new favorite phrase/idea is “visual rhetoric.” Thanks to this Honors Comp 2 for rocking our class meeting with a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He thought y’all were fantastic. And I do, too–it’s because you did your homework, asked great questions, and made everyone look good because of all that. Way to make it look easy.


If I could have said this…

If I could have said anything to myself before I finished college, based on the commencement speeches we just watched, it would be:

  • Never fear, you will always be surprised.
  • Plan, but plan on changing.
  • Be open, embrace difference.
  • Be one with serendipity.
  • Work at what you love, not what you think you should do.
  • Never lie to yourself, you are not good at lying.
  • Avoid failure, it can almost kill you.
  • But if it happens, act like you’ve been there before and keep your dignity.
  • Redefine who you are whenever this seems right.
  • Do not let your jobs define you; define your jobs.
  • Perhaps your dreams are bad dreams: “Thankfully, dreams can change.”
  • “You cannot win improv”: collaboration is what matters.
  • Serve what you love, and you will have love.
  • Be great, no pressure.
  • Be sure you get rid of all your incompletes.

University education… it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I’m so glad I did it.

And I’m so glad I learned to write. And I’m so glad I started writing again. And I’m so glad I’m this teacher, teaching this class, this semester, doing this very writing now.

On your commencement… dream on

Please watch these four commencement speeches and pull out the five most important messages to you. Your audience: yourself at your own commencement in a few years.  Due: Monday, Oct. 24.  Required: 1,000 words.

Steven Colbert’s Commencement Speech, Northwestern University, 2011

Conan O’Brien’s Commencement Speech, Dartmouth University, 2011

J.K. Rowling’s Commencement Speech, Harvard University, 2008

Steve Jobs’s Commencement Speech, Stanford University, 2005