Buckley ’75 to speak at Class Day

Christopher Buckley ’75, the satirical author and political commentator, will give the Class Day speech at this year’s commencement.

Members of the Senior Class Council, which is tasked with choosing the Class Day speaker, would not confirm or deny Buckley’s selection when contacted Tuesday afternoon. But a person close to Buckley confirmed the selection to the News, and the SCC provided a written statement later Tuesday evening announcing that Buckley would be the Class Day speaker.

Christopher Buckley ’75 was selected by the Senior Class Council to speak at this year's Class Day.
Jennifer Graylock
Christopher Buckley ’75 was selected by the Senior Class Council to speak at this year's Class Day.

Buckley, the son of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley ’50, will speak on Sunday, May 24 on Old Campus. In the statement, the SCC said he would “appeal to a wide range of students” — “to students of all political persuasions.”

“As a Yale alumnus with a sharp sense of humor, we feel that Mr. Buckley will be able to uniquely connect with graduating seniors,” the statement said.

In a telephone interview Tuesday before the SCC released its statement, Buckley neither confirmed nor denied the selection, but spoke at length about what his speech might cover were he to give such a speech.

“Were I to give a speech,” Buckley explained, “I would probably in the first paragraph explain how to solve the financial crisis. In the second paragraph, I think I would deal swiftly with how to achieve peace in the Middle East. And in the third paragraph I would probably talk about how to get a job at Starbucks.”

Buckley made headlines this past October when he endorsed Barack Obama in the presidential election. Soon after Buckley wrote a column announcing his support for Obama, he announced his resignation from the National Review, the prominent conservative magazine founded by his father.

Buckley, the co-founder of the Yale Daily News Magazine, is perhaps best known for his works of political satire, including the novel-turned-movie Thank You For Smoking. Buckley also served as chief speechwriter for then-Vice President George H.W. Bush ’48 in the 1980s.

When asked to confirm the news that he would be headlining Class Day, Buckley flexed his satirical muscle.

“If it’s true,” he said, “it’s appalling.”


  • WFB




  • 09


  • Yale 08

    Perfect, a flip-flopper … by contrast, I'm glad my year's class day speaker stood by his convictions.

  • Anonymous

    What a disappointment!

  • Y09

    Yale can't get anyone better? What a joke.

  • Anonymous

    wow. major disappointment

  • At #5

    I disagree. What is "better?" More famous, more prominent? CB is perfect. He may not be Fareed Zakaria or Tony Blair, but he gets it. He will inspire us not through empty rhetoric but through humor. And it's a fitting choice given that his father passed away last year.

  • anonymouse


  • Yale 09

    What a great choice! Definitely looking forward to Class Day

  • Y09

    This far and away beats any other vapid choice like Tony Blair. If I have to listen to yet another anodyne speech about a "changing world" and "globalization" and this thing called "the World," I would feel cheated out of a proper Yale graduation. Read Buckley's writings and you'll see just how smart this decision was.

  • Y11

    YES. Definitely sticking around for this.

  • 2009

    Wow, this is a huge let down. This is Yale. How could we not get someone who is prominent? A president, a major senator, a major governemtn official, a large business leader. Honestly, I have maybe heard about this guy for one minute in my life--because of his National Review incident and his movie. This is sad.

  • Yale 09

    For those of us who don't get wet being near "powerful" people, this is going to be a real treat. The man is hilarious, witty, urbane. Given that the speech is going to be addressed to college students rather than "important people" like the senate, this is precisely what we need. Everyone who wishes we had "a major governemtn official" instead is totally missing the point.