Danielle Young was kind enough to ask me to speak to the class of 2009 at this year's Senior Supper. After a few failed attempts at writing a speech that wouldn't bore them to tears, I gave up and decided it would be much cooler to, I don't know, rap with the President or something like that. Fortunately they'd already scheduled a kickass jazz band, so coming up with the necessary hip-hop track wasn't an issue.
Somehow I got MK to agree to this, and while I was at it, I roped in Linda Gates and Danielle as well. After writing the words (below), I handed them off to my partners in crime and hoped for the best.
After being introduced, I started reading from the strategic plan, because who isn't enraptured by the strategic plan? A few people groaned; others yawned - and then the band interrupted me and started playing the hip-hop beat. People soon realized what was happening, and it was on.
The words went something like this:
Did you think we'd make you suffer through some long and boring speech
Delivered by some random dude whose touch was out of reach?
No no my special friends, 'cause we roll a different way
We're Ben, Danielle, and Linda, and you know our friend MK
Say hey, MK
Congrats on graduating, I did that once myself
That Monday it felt pretty good, but Tuesday it was hell
See, I didn't really have a plan, at least one I could sell
So I signed a lease in Oberlin, say it with me: FTL
But this new generation... well you seem much more directed
Anyone going to grad school? Nice, you didn't get rejected
Take it all the way to PhD 'cause you know we love that record
(Forget about politics, Harkness - we know your past is checkered)
Anybody have a job yet? In this economy? How'd you do it?
Like 90 of you won Fellowships! Not too shabby, eh, Dean Stuart?
Good luck with any future tests like GMAT MCAT TOEFL
By the way, you can take Ben Klebanoff, but we're keeping Colin Koffel...
Do you guys want to hear Dean Gates rap? Yes?
Here are some things you can't forget when you're somewhere else next fall
TGIF in Wilder Bowl, hangin' in the lounge of your residence hall
Co-op food and CDS, romance in a womb chair
Oberlin Steel, Jazz at the Cat, cramming in Mudd 'til you pulled out your hair
Safer sex night, at the 'Sco, getting dressed up for drag ball
Coffee with friends at Decafe, practicing Bach 'til your fingers were raw
One more thing to consider, on the way to your summer vacation
All of you are finally free... from residential education
Thanks Dean Gates for the memories, I'm nostalgic and I still live here!
Maybe they'll be back when they move to the cities and discover the price of beer there
In the meantime fellow almost-alums, there are many ways to stay in touch
Meet Danielle Young - whose job it is to love you very much. :-)
Hello friends, I am Danielle, from the Alumni Association
I'll help you stay connected, regardless of your destination
Look for our alum e-newsletter, it's called Around The Square
Check LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook... you'll also find us there
The alumni mag will come to you about four times a year
With campus news and class notes, 'bout Obies far and near
Reunions happen often, on campus and in many states
Make sure your contact info's right so we can let you know the dates
Send us your news and get involved, wherever you may go
You'll always find other Obies around, there are forty thousand, you know!
Networking through OBIEWeb is a great way to get in the door
See you all at your fifth reunion, in two-thousand-one-four.
Hear that guys? Danielle is wise... take her words to heart
Commencement's not the ending, no, Commencement's just the start
This place is a big part of you; that won't ever go away
But more on that from the President, give it up for our friend MK
Ben... what are you thinking? I'm MK, not Eminem
I should be presidential, not rapping in front of them
Any fears you have, MK, be fearless and just toss 'em
Remember what the Review said! That you're intangibly awesome!
You all are very kind... so I'll give this a shot
Ben Jones, you've really done it. You owe me. A lot.
There is so very much to say, but here it is unfurled:
Remember what you've learned here, and use it to change the world.
And when you're out there saving us from all the current woes
Remember where you got your start, and make sure everyone knows
You are our best ambassadors; if you embrace that view
The Obies of tomorrow will be just as cool as you.
So welcome to the club, guys. It's fun to be an alum.
You've earned a few weeks on your parents' couch, but just a few weeks, you bums
Consider what you're part of now: the power of this alumni group
If you think one person can change the world...
Think what forty thousand can do.
If you don't believe me, here's the video, courtesy of Louis Grube: