You may have heard of the brouhaha regarding the commencement speeches given recently by the journalist, Fareed Zakaria, at Duke University and at Harvard University, that were essentially the same, and two weeks apart. Those at Duke are saying that at least they got to hear it first.
Supposedly, the speech was also not much different from his commencement/graduation speeches given at other universities over the past few years, including one at my alma mater, Brown University, from which I have 4 degrees, including my PhD.
The Boston Globe has a report on this.
Coincidentally, I will be giving a commencement speech at the Master's graduation ceremonies at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden this coming Thursday.
Given the honor of giving such a speech, one should be original, out of respect to the audience and to those who have invited you. This is not like giving a keynote speech at international academic conferences in which your latest (and also most interesting and important research) is welcomed so there may be some overlap. Personally, if I am giving multiple invited academic talks, I like to prepare different presentations because then I get more excited in delivering them.
I have worked many days on my commencement/graduation speech and have the text prepared. It will be original and, clearly, given the new venue and the international audience, it will not be the same as the commencement speech that I gave to the Isenberg School of Management graduates a few years back.
It is expected that there will be about 450 in the audience from the graduates to special guests and dignitaries as well as friends and family members of the graduates.
I have been asked to be inspirational and I hope that I will be.
The event is preceded by a lunch and followed by strawberries and champagne.
I will be wearing my Brown University cap and gown (actually, my husband's since one size, more or less, fits all).