Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Nancy Pelosi Coming To Webster University

Nancy Pelosi will visit St. Louis in May to give the keynote speech for my alma mater's graduation ceremonies.

I am giving a lot of thought to attending. I wonder if I can get close enough to her to give her one of these.

Pelosi to address graduates

First female speaker of the house will deliver speech at Webster's commencement ceremony May 12

By: Kelley Atherton

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will give the commencement address at the May 12 graduation ceremony.

In January Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history. Webster University President Richard Meyers said he is delighted Pelosi chose Webster.

"We want to have a speaker every graduate will remember," Meyers said.

Pelosi said in a statement she is enthusiastic about speaking at Webster's graduation and ushering in the next wave of adults into the workforce.

"I am excited to join Webster University's Class of 2007 to celebrate their outstanding academic achievements," Pelosi said. "It is an honor to be part of the commencement ceremony. I look forward to coming to St. Louis to congratulate our next generation of leaders on their years of hard work and dedication at such a fine institute of higher education."

Meyers said he believes the unique opportunities Webster offers, such as diversity and nation-wide campuses, prompted Pelosi's choice.

"She is obviously more or less impressed with what we do with our military campuses," Meyers said.

Webster has campuses on 43 bases that offer classes (beyond military training) to military personnel and their families, Meyers said. She is making a statement through whatever school she chooses to speak at, he said.

"We are raising the level of competence of our military," Meyers said. "She probably felt she is serving the U.S. by hitting a university that serves the whole U.S. She's doing a much more national presentation."

In addition, Meyers said Pelosi possibly chose Webster because she'll be speaking to 15,000 to 20,000 people at the Edwards Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis. He said it's not common to have that many people at graduation. However, Meyers also said that because Pelosi is a high-profile person there will be greater security measures at the Dome.

Meyers said he wrote Pelosi a letter about a month ago asking her to be the commencement speaker. Then, former Missouri Gov. Bob Holden met with her in Washington, D.C., and gave a presentation on why she should speak at Webster's commencement. Holden was the critical contact in securing Pelosi, Meyers said.

"I have known her and her staff a long time," Holden said. "Meyers indicated he'd like to have Pelosi (speak) and I met with them."

Holden said he asked Pelosi during the fall semester to speak for the Holden Public Policy Series, but it didn't work out. However, he said he prefers her to speak at commencement rather than the series because it will reach a wider audience. Like Meyers, Holden believes the international education Webster offers was a major deciding factor for Pelosi.

"Webster is on the cutting edge of academia," Holden said. "The institution has a lot to offer."

Holden said it is an honor for her to speak at commencement, and something that should make Webster proud.

"She is the third most powerful individual in the country, and the first female speaker," Holden said. "She's in the same league as getting the president. It's great for Webster, St. Louis and Missouri."

Meyers said it is unusual for a commencement speaker to agree this early in the semester. The school normally gets a commitment from a speaker about a month before the ceremony.

"This shows she is committed to speaking," Meyers said. "I'm very impressed with her early commitment; it's not common."

Meyers said only a national emergency could prevent Pelosi from speaking in May, and if something drastic were to occur there will be a replacement speaker. There is no back-up speaker at this point, he said.

Nick McGeehon, a senior public relations major, said despite the fact that his politics are different from Pelosi's, her commencement speech will be significant.

"I don't agree with her politically and I'm not a fan of her politics," McGeehon said. "I think it'll be historic. She is the first madam speaker and it's her first commencement speech as Speaker. I'm excited she's coming."

Keith Bryan, a senior history and English literature double major, said he hopes Pelosi doesn't talk about her political agenda because not everyone on campus is a Democrat.

"It could be good if she has something thoughtful and insightful to say," Bryan said. "If it's only partisan stuff she's saying then that's not good. A lot of people would be upset and disregard her if they don't agree with her."


BLOG Editor/Publisher said...

AI, That was a great post. I loved the link to one of these.

Great Post!

Brian said...

Ha haaa!

I seriously thought about buying a model spine.... having it gift wrapped for her, LOL.

But then I thought.... her security staff would tackle me and lock my Black *** up if I got within 20Ft of her.

So if I go.... I'll have to behave.

But maybe If I could print out a picture of a spine...

I'd just like to see her reaction.

The Dems have been finding their voice over the last couple of weeks though.