Dempsey: Mitch Albom will give commencement address

Joe Pelletier

Class of 2011 President Dan Dempsey confirmed that esteemed author and journalist Mitch Albom will provide the keynote address at the 2011 commencement ceremony on May 22.

Albom’s agency for speaking engagements, Royce Clayton Incorporated, also confirmed the appearance, according to the Quad News.

SGA’s Class of 2011 cabinet planned to release Albom’s name on Saturday at the Annex in the Rocky Top Student Center.

Dempsey reached out to the Chronicle shortly after the Quad News report, confirming Albom as the commencement speaker.

“The rumors are true, Mitch Albom will be delivering the undergraduate speech,” Dempsey said. “I am very happy about the selection, I am very happy with how the selection process went about, and how Public Affairs included the senior class cabinet’s ideas. So far, I have already received a lot of great feedback and students have been very receptive.”

Quinnipiac’s Board of Trustees met today to formally approve Albom as the speaker. Quinnipiac has not yet confirmed that approval, but according to Dempsey, it’s only a “formality.”

Albom was on the initial list that the Class of 2011 cabinet issued to Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, and Karla Natale, public affair’s director of special events.

Albom earned national acclaim for his books “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” and continues to be a correspondent for ESPN.


Albom proves to be a logical fit for the second set of clues the committee posted to YouTube. The video, released on March 21, points out the years 1997 and 2003 – the years that Albom released “Tuesdays with Morrie,” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

The 1997 frame in the video shows a picture of Eddie Murphy’s “Nutty Professor,” which matches up with “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a story of Albom and his professor. The 2003 frame features a Ferris wheel – “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” is a story of a maintenance man at an amusement park.

The 1970s frame is filled with music notes – Albom was an aspiring musician before beginning his writing career in 1981, a year that the committee’s video paired with an image of a notebook and pen.

Prior to today’s reveal, the Chronicle met Monday with Dempsey and senior Marissa Kameno to discuss the speaker.

“It’s not a name that people are going to catch right away,” Dempsey said. “But at the end of the day people will be more satisfied with this than they were with Bill Nye.

“I think the commencement address will be very inspirational.”