See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

Peters commencement announcement disappointing?

A couple of news stories from The Student Life (Washington University independent paper) regarding the announcement that Mother Goose and Grimm and Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Mike Peters will be this year’s commencement speaker.

The first story is about how Mike wasn’t the model student while at the university.

“I was doing posters for the school; I was working for the yearbook, doing anything I could besides what I was supposed to be doing because it was fascinating to me,” Peters said. “I graduated after I took a couple of extra hours over the summer, and then I got my degree in the mail.”

The second is a report about how many students were disappointed in the pick. I don’t know how representative of the student body the three quoted students were, but the common thread was, “Mike who? He draws what?”

I mention this second story because I’ll venture to guess that most students don’t know their commencement speaker. I hadn’t heard of mine and 14 years later I can only remember that she was female and somehow employed in the space industry (NASA???). But it also services to illustrate that the generation that Mike is speaking to grew up getting news and socializing on the web and not in a newspaper.

That said, Mike has powerful advantages that even more well known speakers wouldn’t have. He’s alumni – he knows the school, its culture and history. He knows the area and he’s been back to the school several times. Secondly, he’s a polished, hilarious and entertaining speaker. No doubt in my mind 14 years later, these students are going to long remember Mike as their speaker.

Community Comments

#1 Stephen Beals
March/30/2012
@ 11:06 am

… but no pressure.

I would also love to see a video of this.

#2 Mike Cope
March/30/2012
@ 11:32 am

Look back at high school or earlier … How many of us were the ONLY kid in our class who wanted to be a cartoonist?

Now, how many kids going to Washington University are dreaming the same dream?

Find that one kid (maybe two) from the graduating class, and ask THEM what they thought of Mike Peters’ commencement.

Of course, I can certainly relate with those other students. I had no interest in who my speaker was, and so, their enlightened words, however great they may have been, fell on deaf ears.

Nevertheless, I think it’s wonderful that out of all the potential candidates, a cartoonist was invited to speak to the graduating class … I wish one had spoken at mine :)

#3 Rich Diesslin
March/30/2012
@ 12:05 pm

A commencement speaker need not have been a good student to have something valuable to say, and perhaps may have more to say. More often the speaker is picked because they a successful in their field, which Mike Peters undeniably is. Also, I’m guessing he will also be one of their more entertaining speakers.

There is a disconnect with teens and youth with newspaper syndicated cartoons, because so few of them read the paper anymore. That’s unfortunate, but it is a bit of an issue to overcome, many may really be unaware of the MG and his political cartoons. However, I’m also guessing there would be rumblings by some students on anyone they picked, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.

I’m sure he won’t disappoint!

#4 Chris Hart
March/30/2012
@ 1:50 pm

Mike Cope, I’m the only one in my high school who wants to be a cartoonist!

Just because Mike Peters wasn’t the best student doesn’t mean he won’t have anything important to say.

I don’t think it matters that the students haven’t heard of Mother Goose and Grimm, because it probably won’t be the main focus of the speech. What matters is that he’s entertaining, and I’m sure he will be!

#5 Terri Libenson
March/30/2012
@ 4:31 pm

Back when I was a sophomore at Wash U (as we affectionately called it), Mike P came to speak at the fine arts school. He was certainly memorable to both myself — as an aspiring cartoonist — as well as those who’d never heard of him. I’m sure the students won’t be disappointed!

#6 Joe Engesser
March/31/2012
@ 11:39 am

You’re sure to be the “mother” of all commencement speakers, Mike! Don’t let ’em cook your “goose” with a “grimm” reception.

#7 Jeff Darcy
April/1/2012
@ 2:01 pm

When I was a student at the University of Dayton in 80’s the city
still had two newspapers. The guys I shared an apartment
with and I chose to subscribe to Dayton Daily news over the other paper for one reason: Mike Peter’s cartoons

#8 Gerry Mooney
April/2/2012
@ 9:42 am

When I saw this headline, I thought it was about Mike’s speech being disappointing and I couldn’t even imagine that possibility. He’s easily one of the most entertaining speakers I’ve ever heard in my life.

So they were disappointed that he was selected before they even hear him? Not sure what the point of such an article is, other than I guess the school paper’s editor had never heard of him either.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.