Despite months of moaning and groaning, the Portland State graduating class of 2002 in the end mounted no protest against Katie Harman, a.k.a. Miss America 2002, as their commencement speaker.
When college bigwigs first announced that Harman, 21, would speak at graduation, campus activists threatened pickets and boycotts, arguing that a PSU speech-communications major who put her academic career on hold for the beauty pageant was hardly an inspiration. Last weekend, however, when the bubbly Portland native finally addressed PSU's 2,000-plus grads, there was little sign of defiance. In fact, the event was rather underwhelming. Anxious to shun controversy, the desultory debutante trod the tried and true: She celebrated diversity, deplored breast cancer, praised her father and closed with a quote from the diary of Anne Frank. While her speech may not have been electrifying, Harman's push-button delivery was clear and confident, at least--more than can be said for the brief but muffled remarks of PSU President Daniel Bernstein, whose address touched on the tragedy of Sept.11.