Brown announces Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as commencement speaker

As the Class of 2014 prepares for their last week as undergraduate students at Boston University, BU President Dr. Robert A. Brown announced Friday morning at the senior breakfast that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will be this year’s commencement speaker.

The graduating seniors celebrated their four years at the university at the GSU’s Metcalf Ballroom, where both Brown and Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore addressed the students. Joining Patrick at the podium will be the ceremony’s student speaker, Tori Gilbeau, a soon-to-be graduate of the College of Communication.

“During your years here, you’ve witnessed the world’s slow economic recovery, with unemployment steadily decreasing,” Brown said in his address. “You’ve lived through the fear of last year’s horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon and the great celebration last month of the 2014 event, and the strength of the Boston community and the Boston University community. And you have succeeded, and now you are moving to the next stage.”

Brown said the Class of 2014 was unexpectedly large, earning them the nickname “the bulge.” The class was a part of the BU community in a time of change, he said, with the introduction of the Center for Student Services and the launch of the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College.

Within the room, the tension from tackling their final semester had dissipated as students ate quiche, bacon and fresh fruit and celebrated with friends and classmates. In the background, a slideshow of their Freshman Orientation played, filling the room with photos and music from 2010.

“This is the beginning of the end, unfortunately,” Elmore said. “Today is a day about a lot of little fun and a lot of tradition. We’re going to give you some information that you’re probably going to need over the next couple of weeks. A little smiles, a little cheering, and we’ll even give you a little something to eat, as well.”

Several seniors said they felt pride for all they had accomplished in their years at BU and are looking forward to hearing this year’s speakers at the Commencement Ceremony, scheduled for May 18th.

Cara Polom, graduating from COM, said though it’s hard to believe four years have passed, she is looking forward to hearing Patrick’s speech.

“I had heard rumors that the speaker might be Governor Patrick,” she said. “I’m hoping he can motivate us as we’re about to enter the real world. I have a plan for the next few months. After that, I definitely want to stay in Boston. I have loved being at BU the past four years, and I’m just not ready to leave.”

Anita Shah, of the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was originally going to skip the senior breakfast to study but was convinced by her friends to attend.

“I was really stressed out because of finals, but I know I would have regretted missing this,” she said. “I wanted to find out who my speaker was going to be. If I could give any advice to Tori, it would be just talk about how far we’ve come. She should celebrate the fact that we’re graduating and show that we deserve this.”

COM senior Libby Wymer said attending her own senior breakfast after years of undergraduate study felt unreal.

“It’s terrifying, and it came a lot quicker than I had expected it to,” she said. “I had suspected that Governor Patrick might be the guest speaker. It’s a good way to kind of conclude everything that had happened during our time at BU, especially everything that’s happened the last few weeks [with the marathon]. He’s a good person to represent the student body as a whole, and he’s someone whom we can look up to.”

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