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ERIC Number: EJ1142747
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
Of Mortarboards and Minutia a Longitudinal Study of Student Commencement Addresses at Brown University
Porwancher, Andrew
American Educational History Journal, v43 n2 p211-224 2016
For the better part of the twentieth century, student speakers at their graduations from Brown University greeted fellow seniors and guests with substantive, socially conscious addresses. Undergraduate orators used the opportunity to expound on fundamental social questions, frequently discussing politics, academia, human progress, and the responsibilities of college graduates. Yet, more recent commencement addresses have tended toward the humorous and self-referential, divorced from concerns beyond the university gates. Even when contemporary speakers have groped for substance, the result typically has been vapid platitudes or nostalgia for the minutia of college life. The past century saw not a gradual decline from sober to sappy but instead a sudden and enduring transition in the late 1970s. This study considers the consequences of these trends for generational consciousness among undergraduates by surveying a century's worth of student graduation speeches at Brown--from the turn of the twentieth century to that of the twenty-first.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Rhode Island
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A