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.
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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.”