Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles [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."