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Saturday, December 9, 2023


Governator set to terminate class of 2017

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When UH announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governator himself, a man whose upbringing and ambition to make dreams into realities could inspire anyone, was going to be the speaker for its third commencement ceremony, I was ecstatic.

On top of that, he waived the $40,000 speaking fee and chose to speak to the class of 2017 for no cost other than lodging and transportation around the city, making the Governator the most economic speaker the University has ever had (compared to actor Matthew McConaughey, who cost the University $135,000 plus travel and lodging and whose speech was arguably over-valued, even though he donated most of what he earned to charity).

Schwarzenegger is special largely because of his unique upbringing. He was born in a small village in Austria, became a world-renowned bodybuilder and made it to the governor’s seat in California (but not before playing iconic roles in films like “Terminator” and “Conan the Barbarian”).

Let that sink in: An immigrant was born with a dream of making it to America, made it here, became wildly successful and was able to get elected as the governor of one of the largest states in the union. Arnold is living the American dream.

Given UH’s high degree of diversity and number of international students, Schwarzenegger’s history as a man who came to America with big aspirations will surely strike close to home with many graduates. There will be plenty of graduating seniors just trying to wrap their heads around the fact that they are getting one of their most memorable pep talks from a legendary figure.

While some may turn their nose up at the use of celebrity speakers, UH is essentially investing in publicity whenever they make agreements with big names to speak at graduation, and I’ll gladly get behind any non-negative publicity my school can stir up.

Some also want to draw as much attention as they can to his personal life and infidelity in his previous marriage, but he isn’t going to be speaking at UH about marriage counseling. He will most likely be speaking on his journey and how it’s possible to make dreams manifest, and I cannot think of many other people as prominent as Schwarzenegger who are good living examples of that.

Schwarzenegger has agreed to speak for 25 minutes to the graduating seniors, and I have no doubt that those 25 minutes will be amazing. And if we’re lucky, he’ll end his speech with something along the lines of “Class of 2017, you’re terminated,” and then fly off in a chopper.

Opinion editor Thomas Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and can be reached at [email protected].

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