Celebrity commencement speakers are a mainstay at college graduations, but not something you expect to get in high school—unless you go to Oregon Episcopal School. This year the seniors get to have comedian Fred Armisen bid them adieu. (For all you television-ignorers, Armisen is the co-star of IFC's Stumptown satire, Portlandia, and is a Saturday Night Live regular, often impersonating President Obama.)
The school has had commencement speakers off and on in the past, but usually they've been teachers and faculty members, said Marty Jones, OES' director of communications and marketing.
This year was different. The senior class "theme" (whatever that means) was "Ho11ywood", (notice the clever replacement of L's with number 1's for 2011). A female student in the senior class pitched the idea to her peers and it was agreed upon. After finding a connection in the local film industry, they made a few calls and Armisen was secured for the speech.
Jones thinks Armisen will make a great speaker because the students want to hear him. If that's the definitive characteristic of a good speaker, then I guess it's good they didn't book a teacher.
"His work has been contributing a lot of focus on Portland so I think it's good that he wants to be a part of the community like this," Jones told WW.
True, but why didn't one of the universities think of asking him first?