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  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • SEAMANS: Good morning everyone.

  • We're here to tell you a little bit about where you are today,

  • and what will be happening as we go along.

  • I can't remember weather as gorgeous as this.

  • This is just spectacular, isn't it?

  • KEYSER: This area that we are in is known as Killian Court.

  • It was named after James Ryan Killian, class of '26,

  • who was the 10th president of this institution.

  • ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the academic processor,

  • led by the Chief Marshal, will now enter Killian Court.

  • SEAMANS: On the faculty I think we have 11 Nobel Prize winners

  • and four Kyoto Prize winners.

  • KEYSER: It's also remarkable to see the diversity in the MIT

  • community.

  • I believe 30% of MIT's faculty are, in fact, born outside

  • of the United States.

  • We think they're the best people world, of course.

  • SEAMANS: This again, is a view of the class of 1949.

  • An amazing percentage of them have come back

  • for the 50th reunion.

  • ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentleman, the guests of honor,

  • the class of 1999.

  • SEAMANS: They're being led by Ros Williams,

  • she is the Dean of Student Affairs at MIT.

  • She has a baton in her hand.

  • KEYSER: Both Tom and Ray Magliozzi are MIT alumni.

  • Tom is a graduate in 1958.

  • He is an economics graduate.

  • And Ray is class of '72, and he is Course 21B,

  • that was Science and Technology, one of the early Humanities

  • graduate here at the Institute.

  • A lot of people think they are MIT's most famous alumni.

  • SEAMANS: If you'll look to the dome,

  • you'll be seeing one of MIT's favorite places for hacks.

  • And if you see, they're two policemen up there now.

  • I want to assure you that those policeman are not hacks.

  • In fact, there up there to prevent hacks.

  • Because one of MIT's favorite activities

  • was to do a hack during commencement.

  • KEYSER: I think we're about to begin.

  • D'ARBELOFF: Corporation and the faculty

  • of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • will now declare convened, together with this assembly,

  • on the occasion of the commencement

  • exercises of this institution for the conferring

  • of its degrees.

  • The stage, assembly, and audience,

  • will please rise and join professor Ellen T.

  • Harris in the singing of one verse of the Star

  • Spangled Banner, and please remain

  • standing for the invocation by Rabbi Joshua E. Plaut.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING - FRANCIS SCOTT KEY, "STAR SPANGLED BANNER"]

  • HARRIS: [SINGING] Oh, say can you

  • see by the dawn's early light, what

  • so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

  • Who's broad stripes and bright stars,

  • through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched

  • were so gallantly streaming?

  • And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

  • gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

  • Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o'er

  • the land of the free and the home of the brave?

  • PLAUT: Sing praise on this new morning, for dreams fulfill.

  • Proclaim gratitude to the creator

  • for implanting in us a divine spirit to grow in wisdom

  • and grasp our potential at this haven of higher learning.

  • A new day dawns.

  • Challenges brighten the paths ahead.

  • Knowledge inspired and acquired here

  • shapes us into messengers entrusted with the supplication

  • to act creatively and responsibly.

  • At this happy juncture, doors swing shut while others open.

  • We strive to succeed in life, not always sure of our path.

  • Take to heart then, words uttered 2000 years ago,

  • as a guy down the high road of life.

  • Who is wise?

  • One who learns from every person.

  • Who is strong?

  • The person able to master one's temptations.

  • Who is rich?

  • The person who enjoys one's own portion.

  • Who is honor?

  • One who honors others.

  • Proceed now with humility.

  • Cherish morality.

  • Have faith in yourself and believe in humanity.

  • Pursue justice and promote peace.

  • Be courageous.

  • Remember, the world needs us to make a difference.

  • As we sing praise for this new morning, blessed

  • be the work of our hands day by day.

  • Joyously we welcome this occasion

  • with a Hebrew prayer of Thanksgiving.

  • [SPEAKING HEBREW]

  • Blessed is the divine spirit of the universe

  • for giving us life, sustaining us, and bringing us

  • to this joyous and happy day.

  • Amen.

  • Please be seated.

  • D'ARBELOFF: I am pleased to welcome

  • to the platform, the honorable Francis H. Duehay,

  • Mayor of the City of Cambridge.

  • It is also my pleasure to welcome Raymond F. Magliozzi,

  • Class of 1972, and Thomas L. Magliozzi, class of '58,

  • hosts on the National Public Radio series Car Talk.

  • The Magliozzi brothers will now give the commencement address.

  • You're on.

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Don't crowd me.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: Glad you could all come.

  • Shut up!

  • What's this?

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Wait a minute.

  • I have to put my glasses on and everything.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: When this was announced in the newspaper--

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: This happens all the time.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: This was announced in the newspaper,

  • and my daughter, my lovely daughter,

  • Lydia, who's sitting over there, called me and said, "Is this

  • true?"

  • And I said, "Yeah."

  • She said, "When is commencement?"

  • I said, "It's June the 4th."

  • She said, "Promise me just one thing."

  • I said, "What?"

  • She said, "Promise me that you'll think

  • about it before June third."

  • Which reminded me of that great old country music

  • song, "How Come You Know Me So Good When

  • I'm A Stranger To Myself."

  • Yeah, what do you want to say?

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Well, not much, actually.

  • I just wanted to say we are thrilled

  • to be here with you today, and we especially

  • want to thank Dr. Vest and anyone else

  • that he might be able to implicate for having

  • the courage to invite us here.

  • Now, I'm sure that--

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: We figure this is a guy who

  • has an iron-clad contract.

  • I mean, you've got to really have 'em.

  • Where is he?

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Well, I'm sure those of you that know him,

  • know that he is a take charge, buck-stops-here kind of guy.

  • I mean I know that because every time

  • his wife Becky has taken her automobile

  • to our shop for repairs, he calls personally

  • to complain about the bill.

  • And you know, we were flattered to find out,

  • I think just this morning, that only

  • once before in the long history of MIT,

  • has the demand for commencement tickets been greater.

  • And coincidentally, it was when Abraham Lincoln

  • spoke to my brother's graduating class.

  • You know, if anything ever cried out for an explanation

  • it's, why are Tom and Ray speaking to us today?

  • And I will attempt, with the help of my brother,

  • to give you some kind of an explanation.

  • I think you deserve it.

  • You're going to be good?

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: I'm going to be good.

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: This all started a little over two years ago,

  • we were doing our weekly radio show,

  • and I happened to mention, casually,

  • that Kofi Annan had been selected

  • to give the address to the class of '97.

  • Tommy says, "Kofi Annan, who the hell is he?

  • What ever happened to [INAUDIBLE]?"

  • And then he begins to rant, "Why did they choose Kofi Annan?

  • OK, he is the Secretary General of the UN, I guess.

  • But no one's ever heard of them.

  • Everyone's heard of us.

  • They've got to fly him in, fly him out, put him up

  • in a fancy hotel, wine him and dine him and do all that.

  • They'd have to do none of these things for us,

  • and-- and-- and--

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: And what?

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: And he's not even an alumnus.

  • Now, I will admit that I could participate, to some extent,

  • in his rant and rave.

  • I've learned, I guess most of the experts

  • agree, that when you're dealing with these irrational types,

  • that you shouldn't be too confrontational.

  • In fact, you should try to be a little supportive,

  • and then hope that the medication kicks it.

  • Well, hardly a fortnight passes and we receive in the mail,

  • from someone named Charles M. Vest, what

  • I would call a terse rebuke.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: It wasn't so terse.

  • Well, I happen to have it here.

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Read it to us, please.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: Which one is it?

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: It's the first one.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: Here it is.

  • "Dear click '58 and clack '72--

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Ah-hah, now you know who we are.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: "--I was sorry to learn of your disappointment

  • in not being asked--" You don't mind if we read these?

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: We did clear this with your office?

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: What can you do?

  • "I'm sorry to learn of you disappointment

  • at not being asked to deliver the main address at this year's

  • commencement exercise.

  • It had been my understanding that you don't usually

  • care for exercise, especially in the open air,

  • and that you therefore wouldn't be interested in ours.

  • On the other hand, as alum-knee--" yes,

  • I'm going with the Greco-Latin pronunciation here--

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: I think Latin would be sufficient.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: --"on the other hand, as alumni,

  • you will appreciate the fact we have some fairly eccentric

  • students and faculty here at the Institute.

  • So the idea of having to two gentleman as graduation

  • speakers is invariably floated each spring.

  • This year, as always, there was a strong, but murky

  • undercurrent support for you as commencement speakers.

  • Still, even your most ardent backers

  • had to admit that there was one crucial area in which

  • your qualifications could not match

  • those of your fellow alumnus--" he is an alumnus--

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Geez, what does that say?

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: "--of your fellow alumnus, UN Secretary General,

  • [INAUDIBLE] Kofi Annan, '72--" He was a classmate of yours.

  • R. MAGLIOZZI: Well, I was-- no, no, let's

  • get this straight right now.

  • I was class of '70, '71, '72.

  • So I couldn't possibly have know everyone.

  • T. MAGLIOZZI: No.

  • OK.

  • "As you know, the United Nations has a really spiffy flag.

  • Because Secretary General Annan was featured as this year's

  • speaker, we have a legitimate excuse

  • to fly the UN flag on the dais, and also to hang it

  • anywhere else we wanted to.

  • You could imagine how useful such a flag can

  • be when you want to cheer up a drab corner of the campus

  • or decorate a really big space like an auditorium

  • or an athletic cage."

  • I mean these are the kind of criteria

  • that this guy Vest is using?

  • What the hell is he thinking?

  • "If Car Talk, or even Dewy, Cheatem, & Howe

  • had possessed a similarly attractive flag,

  • we might have been able to use you.

  • But as it was, we felt that we really

  • have to go with the Secretary General for aesthetic reasons."

  • Right.

  • "You'll be pleased to know, however, that Secretary General

  • Anna was a great success.

  • The graduating seniors were especially

  • moved when he describe his challenge at the UN

  • as 'a little like trying to climb Mount Washington in a '63

  • Dodge Dart.

  • He was also warmly applauded when

  • he urged the US Senate to give him

  • their share of the gas money for UN operations worldwide.

  • Thus, despite your absence, MIT's '97 commencement

  • was a smashing success.

  • Please rest assured, we'll keep you

  • in mind for future ceremonies--" blah, blah,

  • blah-- "if you ever do get a flag, let us know."