Editorial: Nick Offerman was the right choice


After all the obvious hinting the University deployed over the last couple of days, it officially announced the commencement speaker on Tuesday.

Nick Offerman will be speaking at Commencement. This may fill you with extreme happiness because you’re graduating and couldn’t imagine a better Commencement speaker.

For seniors in denial about graduating, this might help make the already bittersweet pill that much easier to swallow.

You might even be annoyed at the University for delaying the announcement of the Commencement speaker, while simultaneously hinting that it would obviously be Offerman. (Seriously though, why the wait? We all knew.)

Alums who have graduated in years passed might be feeling as though they were cheated out of having their favorite actor give their Commencement speech (Sorry, business and STEM professionals, this year’s speaker has name recognition.)

Then there’s the group of students seriously gunning for Barack Obama to come give the Commencement speech. They might just have to settle with Offerman as a close second choice. (Obama, call us.)

Despite what you might be feeling, there is no doubt that having Nick Offerman as a commencement speaker is — for lack of a better word — awesome.

Of course you may be a huge “Parks and Recreation” fan. You may only know of Offerman as the grouchy but lovable character Ron Swanson. 

But don’t let your introduction be stagnant. There is so much more to Offerman that makes him an amazing choice to speak to graduates.

An Illinois native, he graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993. Since his graduation, he has struck major success as an actor, comedian and author, not to mention carpenter. Go check out his woodworking website.

His book, “Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop” came out in October and became a New York Times Best Seller. His talents seem truly limitless.

Yes, we all love Offerman’s comedy and wit, but we most appreciate his activism. He’s an outspoken feminist, who donned a pink cap for the Women’s March (Taylor Swift didn’t even do that).

He has also done a lot of good work for the University, having built a gazebo for the Japan House after working closely with Shozo Sato, founder of the Japan House, while he was enrolled here. He also returns to his alma mater occasionally to help out with fundraisers and events that directly help the school.

Offerman’s strengths are versatile, which is exactly what any University graduate should strive for. The University succeeded in recruiting such a talented role model as a Commencement speaker. So don’t miss out on Offerman’s undoubtedly funny keynote. He is speaking Saturday, May 13 at 9:30 a.m. in Memorial Stadium.