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More about Oprah Winfrey, 2008 Commencement speaker

Oprah Winfrey has been selected as this year’s Commencement speaker. According to the Stanford Daily article, “Oprah’s invitation follows last year’s selection of poet Dana Gioia, who many students complained lacked sufficient name recognition.”

Learn more about Oprah Winfrey by checking out some of the Stanford Libraries’ books about her:

In addition to her award-winning television show, Oprah Winfrey has also starred in and produced a number of acclaimed films:

You can find more books and films by and about Oprah by searching Socrates for "Oprah Winfrey".

Read Oprah Winfrey's Biography from Find more biographies of Oprah Winfrey in the library database Biography Resource Center.

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'To move forward, you have to give something back,'

For coverage of Oprah Winfrey's commencement address and the Wacky Walk, see the Stanford Report, June 15, 2008.

Video of Winfrey's commencement address
Transcript of Winfrey's commencement address

Oprah's book club

Oprah's book club selection is Eckart Tolle's A New Earth, "a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better way of life—and for building a better world." You can sign up for their on-demand 10-week class or download it on iTunes. See

On Oprah & commencement speakers

Changing world of commencement speakers
Oprah's appearance at Stanford is generating lots of comment. There's an interesting story on the changing nature of commencement speakers in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

Universities and mass culture

From the SF Chronicle article, Andrew Delbanco, the Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University says: "Still, it all suggests that our universities are no longer retreats from mass culture but part and parcel of it."

I wonder if that is necessarily a bad thing? The last few years have seen an emphasis on making scholarly research relevant, on training scholars on how to talk to the "real world" outside of the "ivory tower". I'm not sure the model of the college years being a "retreat from mass culture" is one we want to hold on to.

And students want "gravitas"? Winfrey rose from very difficult circumstances to become one of Time's 100 Most Influential Persons, has spearheaded innumerable philanthropic efforts, and used her influence to promote reading. How does that constitute less gravitas than Steve Jobs (commencement speaker 2005)-- a college drop-out who sells computers and stuff?

I hope folks will wait until after her speech to pass judgment. After all, Dana Gioia was not a particularly popular selection, but reviews of his speech were overwhelmingly positive ...

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