What We’re Watching: Pomp and Circumstance – Pacific Research Institute

What We’re Watching: Pomp and Circumstance


It’s graduation season in California.  Many of us will be trekking to nearby colleges and universities to watch a friend or relative graduate in the coming days.  Naturally, graduation commencement speeches are on our watchlist this week. Here’s a few recent graduation speeches that we think you should check out.  Congratulations to everyone in the Class of 2018!

Tim Anaya – One Giant Leap for the Trojans, Neil Armstrong at USC, 2005

I thought it was pretty cool when I graduated from USC in 2005 that the legendary astronaut, the late Neil Armstrong, was our commencement speaker. When preparing this column, I searched online to try and find a video of it but came up empty. Luckily, I found the next best thing – an audio recording (which is posted below) for your listening pleasure.

Ben Smithwick – Barbara Bush at Wellesley College, 1990

I recommend a speech by the late first lady Barbara Bush, which was delivered to the graduates of Wellesley College in 1990.  Accompanied by the late Raisa Gorbachev, her speech encouraged a new generation to remember and embody some of the values of her own generation – values that may have seem old-fashioned to the hip graduates she was addressing. At the time, a group of students even petitioned to have Mrs. Bush removed as the commencement speaker, but it’s become perhaps one of the most famous commencement addresses of all time.  Sadly, clips of this speech were shown over and over again during the coverage surrounding her recent death and funeral.

Rowena Itchon – President Trump’s Commencement Address to the Naval Academy

As a navy brat, I can’t but feel proud of the new class of naval officers and marines graduating from the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Staff favorite – Sally Pipes’ Commencement Address at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy

PRI’s President, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy Sally C. Pipes recently delivered the commencement address to the Class of 2018 at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy.  All of us at PRI are especially proud that Sally was awarded an honorary an honorary doctor of humane letters degree – the university’s highest honor.  As an added bonus, you can catch Sally’s speech this Saturday at 5 PM Pacific on C-Span, alongside commencement addresses given by some other notable people.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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