(05-20-2004) Bono Rocks 248th Commencement -- The Daily Pennsylvanian * - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-20-2004, 11:50 AM   #1
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(05-20-2004) Bono Rocks 248th Commencement -- The Daily Pennsylvanian *

Bono Rocks 248th Commencement

U2 frontman offers graduates humor, urges Class of 2004 to address social justice issues
By Molly Petrilla and Elizabeth Thomas
May 20, 2004

Beneath cloudy skies, words from outgoing University President Judith Rodin and U2 lead singer Bono proved to be "the sweetest thing" for the Class of 2004.

Monday marked the commencement ceremony for graduates, who came eager to hear advice from several University officials and -- one rock star.

Graduates gathered early in the morning in front of Hamilton Village and then marched to Franklin Field.

Once graduates and faculty members filled the field normally used by the Penn football team, Bono entered, wearing a black cap and gown and his trademark blue-tinted sunglasses.

Following remarks by the University Chaplain and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Rodin spoke to the graduates, advising them to "go out and define your roles as global neighbors and as global citizens," citing Bono's activism in Africa as a model.

"You have learned at Penn that nothing great is accomplished without taking a risk," Rodin added.

Rodin also acknowledged May 17 as the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education, calling the court's decision "merely a prologue to the struggles and battles that have since ensued."

University Provost Barchi then presented the academic honors, followed by an address by Faculty Senate Chairman Charles Mooney.

Following these speeches, Rodin returned to the stage to present this year's honorary degree recipients with their respective degrees.

Bono -- who received an honorary doctor of laws -- was presented with his degree alongside University of California, San Francisco Professor and biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, photographer Lee Friedlander, Yale University History Professor Jaroslav Pelikan, and musician/composer Max Roach, who was represented by his daughter. Rodin was also presented with an honorary doctor of laws by Riepe.

Bono then took the stage, responding to the audience's applause with, "Thank you. My name is Bono, and I am a rockstar."

In reference to his recent trouble with the Federal Communications Commission -- sparked by his use of an expletive during last year's Golden Globe Awards -- the seven-time Grammy-winner joked, "The only four-letter world I'm going to use today is P-E-N-N."

Of his honorary Law degree, Bono asked playfully, "It really is an honor, but are you sure? ... All I can think of are the laws I've broken. ... I hope it sends you students a powerful message: Crime does pay."

Bono's speech took a more serious turn, however, as he began to address the problems in Africa that he has tried to tackle over the last several years.

"The going rate for change is not cheap," Bono said. "Big ideas are expensive."

Referencing his work to alleviate AIDS suffering and lessen global debt in Africa, Bono called for graduates to find and embrace "one big idea."

Bono encouraged graduates to follow his own work, saying that, "Every era has its own defining struggle, and the fate of Africa is one of ours."

"This is the time for bold measures, and this is the country," he added. "You are the generation. Sing the melody you hear in your own head."

Yet despite the standing ovation that Bono received, some members of the graduating class were less than enthusiastic about the speech.

"I thought Bono was a horrible speaker," said Wharton graduate Taylor Clark. "He didn't congratulate us much. It was more about his political agenda."

Many students, however, reported strong positive reactions.

"I thought Bono's speech was great because he talked a lot about social justice. He was a great choice," said College graduate Jessica Work.

Nursing graduate student Alyssa Maizan said that the speech even "brought tears to my eyes at a couple of points."

--The Daily Pennsylvanian

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Old 05-20-2004, 12:25 PM   #2
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Wow......my favorite rock star speaks at college commencements and gets doctorate degrees. Some people's favorite rock stars play music. Go figure.
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