Selection of Pataki appropriate

Ranjan Goswami ’02 contends that New York Gov. George Pataki ’67 lacks the “stature and caliber that a Yale Class Day speaker should have” (“Gov. Pataki a poor choice for Class Day speaker,” 4/2).

This is as pretentious as it is misinformed. The governor of New York has one of the most dynamic jobs in the country. Pataki is well known in political circles as one of the most influential people in the country. In addition, his close relationship to the University — he attends almost every home football game — indicates that he truly cares about the well-being of its students. It is difficult to state that Jerry Seinfeld or Paul Newman would be able to make a speech as resonating with seniors as Pataki, who witnessed the fallout of Sept. 11 and is still mending the scars inflicted on the state while keeping an active relationship with Yale.

Perhaps it is Goswami’s belief that the prestige of the Class Day speaker somehow translates to the prestige of the University. I, for one, do not think this is such. But even if this is true, I do not believe that it is the place of any undergraduate to decide on the importance of a man who has achieved more than the majority of Yalies will ever achieve.

Justin Siegel ’02

April 2, 2002

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