May 29, 2001
SF Chronicle writer keynotes Oxford ceremony
By Michael Terrazas firstname.lastname@example.org
Alumnus Keay Davidson 73Ox, 75C delivered the main address at Oxfords Commencement ceremony, held May 12 on the Oxford Quadrangle.
Hey folks, an off-the-cuff Davidson greeted the assembled crowd on a brilliant Saturday morning.
A science writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Davidson has written a biography of Carl Sagan, and his biography of Thomas Kuhn will soon be published. Davidson also wrote Twister: The Science of Tornadoes and the Making of an Adventure Movie.
I was never much of a student, but I love this hat, Davidson
said, taking off and examining the cap he wore atop his ceremonial graduation
gown. It makes me look like Groucho Marx. I wont wear it during
my speech because it might detract from any seriousness I might attempt.
And, despite the lighthearted manner with which David-son delivered his
remarks, there were nuggets of serious advice for Oxfords 2001 graduates
to take to heart. Dont live your life according to a script
written by someone else, he advised the students. Instead of asking
why they arent more like this person or that person, Davidson continued,
Ask yourself, Why arent I more like myself? Live
life according to your script.
Davidson marveled at how much Oxford had changed since his days there,
and at how much it remained the same. An irreverent writer for the student
newspaper The Spokesman during his time at Oxford, David-son said he engaged
in the usual pranks as a student. Which I hope were
all illegal, he said. They wouldnt be as much fun if
they werent. Pranks made up for my total lack of a sex life.
Following Davidsons address, Oxford Dean Dana Greene presented
him with the Deans Medal for his lifetime of work in support of
the ideals of the college.
Greene then introduced Associate Dean Joe Moon, who presented the colleges
Eady Sophomore Service Award to Charlie Burnett. Created in 1969 and named
for former Dean Virgil Eady, the award recognizes the student who, in
the judgment of faculty, performed the most outstanding service to campus
life during the academic year.
Finally, before the 194 Oxford graduates were announced one-by-one and
received their associates degrees from President Bill Chace, Associate
Dean for Academic Affairs Kent Linville presented an Emory Williams Award
for Distinguished Teaching to sociology Professor Michael McQuaide.
A Universitywide distinction, McQuaides honor marks only the second
time an Oxford faculty member has received an Emory Williams Award.
McQuaide also is the first Oxford professor to win all of the colleges major teaching honors, having already received the Mizell, Fleming and Phi Beta Kappa awards.