Class Day Speaker Remains Enigma

Senior Class Committee says speaker has signed on, but name is under wraps

With less than one month until Class Day, the Senior Class Committee has yet to name a speaker for the event—meaning that the eventual announcement will come over a month later than it has in the two previous years.

First Class Marshal Shaka J. Bahadu ’04 wrote in an e-mail two weeks ago that while a person has been confirmed to speak, the committee cannot yet release the speaker’s name.

Bahadu declined to comment further yesterday.

“The person we have secured has requested for us to hold the announcement to coincide with something else they are working on,” Bahadu wrote then.

“We don’t really understand but we are not in a position to question what they want,” Bahadu wrote.

Bahadu as well as several other marshals and class committee House representatives contacted yesterday declined to comment on the identity of the speaker, who has been a noted comedian in three of the past four years.

The delay has some members of the Class of 2004 concerned about the festivities planned for Class Day, which falls on the day before Commencement. And some seniors have speculated that the marshals have been unable to find a speaker for the event.

Jeremy N. King ’04 said that he had asked class marshals about the speaker, but had not been satisfied by their responses.

“They’ve been very close-lipped about it,” King said.

Teresa E. Elsey ’04 said that she and a friend had been wondering about the speaker a few days ago.

“My friend asked me, ‘Who did they choose as the speaker,’” Elsey said. “And I said, ‘I have no idea.’”

Jennifer L. Pegg ’04 added that the lack of an announcement has left her doubting whether the committee has actually secured a speaker for the festivities.

“It’s very weird,” Pegg said. “I guess that probably means they don’t know who it is.”

In the past two years, the Class Day speaker was announced in mid-April. In 2001, seniors found out about the honoree in February.

The last four years have seen a series of entertainers as Class Day speakers, with Will Ferrell addressing Tercentenary Theater in 2003, Al Franken ’73 in 2002 and Conan C. O’Brien ’85 in 2000.

The committee took a break from comedians in 2001, when it hosted Bono, the lead singer of U2 and an AIDS activist.

—Staff writer Katharine A. Kaplan can be reached at kkaplan@fas.harvard.edu.