That Was a Great Graduation Speech, Again

A year ago College Guide wrote about the awkward situation at Connecticut College, a school whose 2009 student speaker took large portions of his speech from author Barbara Kingsolver’s 2008 commencement address to Duke University.

Well it happened again.

Two weeks ago Preston Mitchum spoke at graduation from the law school at North Carolina Central University. According to an article by Jane Stancill in the News & Observer:

Preston Mitchum, 25, said in an interview that he found video of a speech made last year by Anthony Corvino, a student at Binghamton University in New York.

Mitchum copied the speech, delivering parts of it word for word at Friday’s ceremony for graduate and professional students at NCCU. In an interview Monday, he said he meant to credit Corvino in the speech. He didn’t.

On Monday, he apologized, saying, “I feel terrible and I know this is going to have a horrific backlash.”

This was Corvino’s speech:

Corvino’s address, which had to do with being a mediocre student asked to give the commencement address, was pretty funny. It garnered laughs when both Corvino and Mitchum delivered it.

Mitchum apparently asked (and received) permission to use the speech from Corvino.

For future reference, if you think you’re mediocre, give the mediocre speech; do not copy someone else’s exceptional speech.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer