Higher Ed: Pomp And Commencement Speeches

Some are boring and not very memorable. Some are inspiring and stay with the graduates for years to comes. I am referring to commencement addresses. And during this 2018 commencement season, Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and I spend this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed” discussing the good, the bad and the memorable from commencement addresses. Southwestern University’s 2018 commencement speaker is Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton. She grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and was a member of the second class of African American students entering Little Rock Central High School in 1959. Ed is excited for the graduating seniors to hear Dr. Hampton’s inspiring story. Many commencement addresses are inspiring, and in this episode Ed and I recall some words of wisdom that have really made impact and some that were less-than-memorable. Ed also reflects on what he considers one of the most amazing graduation speeches he has ever heard. What made it so good? Listen to the full episode to find out and to get the solution to the most recent puzzler about math lovers who know how to to party.

This episode was recorded on April 20, 2018.

Back To The Nest

College commencements are taking place across Texas over the next few weeks. That was the inspiration for this week’s Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Higher Ed: “Goodbyes” in Education

“Goodbye.” It’s a word that actually gets said a lot in education. Students are constantly changing teachers, classmates, subjects, and locations during their years in school. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about saying goodbye and moving on in education. The end of a class, semester, school year, or entire degree program can be a very emotional time as students and teachers move on, knowing that exact same class with those exact same participants will never exist again. In this episode, Ed and Jennifer discuss the many “goodbyes” that happen along the path of formal education, and what Ed says is the greatest gift an educator can receive when a class ends. And listen on for a twist on the usual puzzler. To balance the sometimes sad topic of goodbyes, Ed and Jennifer share Math jokes courtesy of some funny 4th graders.

This episode was recorded on April 19, 2017.


It’s the time of year when graduates take the long walk to pick up their diploma.

Higher Ed: Commencement Reflections

Caps and gowns … diplomas… speeches… parties… and anxieties about what’s next. It’s commencement season, and thousands of higher education graduates across the country are packing up their dorm rooms and embarking on the next stage of life. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger reflect on what commencement means and discuss what most students actually take away from their college experiences. It may not be exactly what you’d expect. And neither is the solution to the math puzzler about journalists – listen on!

Higher Ed: Graduation Advice to Our Younger Selves

“If I only knew then what I know now….” Sure, hindsight is 20/20. But if you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give? What decisions would you make differently? During this graduation season,  Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton give their younger selves some words of wisdom about life and learning. Think of it as “Higher Ed’s” 2016 commencement address. They may be talking to “Lower Ed” and “Jennifer, Jr.” but much of that advice still holds true today. No puzzler this week – just puzzle over the advice in this episode.

This episode was recorded on March 28, 2016.