Julie Andrews will bring the hills of Boulder alive as CU commencement speaker

Categories: Education, News

And that's not to mention the grumbling in 2011 about the remarks made by ESPN's Rick Reilly to the last graduating class of CU's journalism school; that division of the university continues to transition from its previous model. Reilly said journalists should never write for free, arguing that "nobody asks strippers to strip for free, doctors to doctor for free or professors to profess for free. Have some pride!" But two prominent critics maintained that he was dead wrong.

julie andrews mary poppins.jpg
Andrews won an Oscar for "Mary Poppins."
For her part, Andrews, the most politic of public figures, is unlikely to anger a significant percentage of the audience with anything she says -- and as a bonus, she's really, really famous. Not that she was targeted for the latter reason.

"She's had an exciting career, but she's also a very successful role model for women," Papazian stresses. "Outside of Hollywood, she supports public libraries through philanthropic funding, is an advocate of public education and literacy, and has written a number of children's books through her own publishing press. And obviously, from her experience speaking at other awards ceremonies, she's very well spoken."

There's also her aforementioned cross-generational appeal.

"She's respected as an actor rather than just widely known, and she's going to draw in a lot of the parents as well," Papazian says, adding that she hopes Andrews' presence on campus "will bring a lot of excitement. She isn't someone who's historically been associated with the university, but we think she'll promote CU's values and get people even more excited about getting their diplomas."

As for folks who enjoy complaining about CU commencement speakers, well, there's always next year.

More from our Media archive: "ESPN's Rick Reilly gave lousy advice to CU journalism grads, critics say."

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