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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 05/16/2007

The Smart Set

By Liz Kelly

Oprah Winfrey gets into her Howard University commencement address. (AP)

Ah, spring. Strappy sandals come out of hiding, Adrian Higgins perks up, and a corny-copia of rubber-chicken circuit regulars, politicians, people with inscrutable job titles and, inevitably, a handful of celebs, descend on academia to deliver this year's spate of commencement addresses at the nation's universities.

The topic of big name graduation speakers came up in last week's Celebritology Live discussion and I was heartened to learn that many other college graduates did not have to sit through an interminable lecture from (then) Virginia governor George Allen on their big days. (Neither did I, actually. I skipped it in favor of nursing a hangover.) Jon Stewart returned to his alma mater, William & Mary, in 2004 to warn graduates to "aim low" and "love what you do."

This year, out of the 684 commencement speakers listed by the Chronicle of Education, only a few names will be of note to we in the school of Celebritology:

Bill Cosby
Students at North Carolina's High Point University seemed relieved that the erstwhile TV star, Jell-O spokesman and outspoken education advocate delivered a speech that was neither "long and drawn out" or "boring." Maybe he can go two-for-two if he can accomplish same on May 20 at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon.

Bob Barker
When the recently retired "The Price Is Right" host spoke at Missouri's Drury University last weekend, he gave grads the inspired advice to "enjoy life" and, sadly, avoided using the phrase "come on down!"

Oprah Winfrey
Winfrey urged Howard University grads to "think outside the box" and donated a damp Kleenex to the school's archives. Eww.

Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Who better to inspire the still-forming minds of America's next generation at May 19th's Roger Williams College graduation than the brains behind 1994's "Dumb & Dumber?"

Betty White
I can't think of anyone who could relate more to the class of 2007 at California's fine Western University of Health Sciences than the 85-year-old comedienne and alum of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Golden Girls."

Scan the full list of 2007 commencement speakers.

By Liz Kelly  | May 16, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
 
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