Delivering a commencement speech is the academic equivalent of hosting the Oscars. It's high risk, high payoff, and potentially — if the stars align just right — pure showbiz magic. But when upwardly failing Today Show space cadet Ann Curry delivered an address to the graduates of Wheaton College, she pulled off something closer to a James Franco than a Billy Crystal, mistakenly listing a number of famous alumni who went to a different Wheaton College altogether. Oops! This year's speaker, Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel, couldn't resist opening with a joke at Curry's expense:
Before I give a really important speech like this, I like to consult with colleagues of mine in the media. So I Googled Ann Curry and then I called her. And I said I'm going to talk about the media today and I wanted to talk to her about it. And we're talking for a bit and she was weirdly uninformed about what I wanted to talk about, and I told her so. And she said, "Well, I'm Ann Curry from Springfield, Illinois. I'm an insurance claims adjuster."
Well, imagine my surprise. The wrong Ann Curry.
Ouch! But don't worry — it was all in good fun, as Stengel immediately followed that up by explaining that Curry "is a friend of mine." Sure she is. That's the kind of crap good friends do to each other all the time. [wheatoncollege.edu, photo by Keith Nordstrom for wheatoncollege.edu]