The selection committee, which consists mostly of student leaders and a few faculty members, will meet today to discuss a back-up plan in case the speaker they asked isn’t available.
The committee will also begin to plan for next year’s commencement speaker.
“It is not unusual that we try to go two years out,” Strauss said. “The kind of speakers we are looking for are very much in demand.”
When searching for a commencement speaker, the committee looks for someone who hasn’t spoken at many other universities, Strauss said.
Nora Chan, senior class president and a member of the selection committee, said potential speakers have impacted the community and the world.
“Ideally, it would be someone who brings something new to the table.”
Chan also said there are several figures on the list who are directly connected to the UNC community — but a UNC connection is not a requirement in the search.
Strauss said the committee tries to find speakers who have an academic, artistic or policy-based vantage point: “No football players or movie stars.”
The 2012 commencement featured N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and E.O. Wilson, a Harvard professor and ant researcher, spoke the year before.
Senior Justin Hardy, an exercise and sport science major, said he is hoping for a speaker who can relate to seniors’ current worries, such as finding a job.
“Not everyone knows exactly what they are doing,” he said. “I would like someone who was in that position.”
He said it would be interesting to have someone who started a big business, like Twitter or Facebook.
“I want someone who can give us helpful info about what to do in the future.”
Senior Vikram Raisinghani, a business administration and information science double major, also said he wants a commencement speaker who is relatable.
“When I think of the political speakers that have been here in the past, it’s like, ‘Yeah they are successful, but how do they relate to us?’”
Raisinghani said he would like to see Michael Jordan, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, or Jack Dorsey, the man who started Twitter.
“At graduation, a lot of kids think this is it — this is the real world, and life is going to suck,” Raisinghani said.
“I want someone who will say, ‘This is just another journey, you should be excited about it.’”
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