By Evan Silvera
For The Diamondback
The University of Maryland revealed last week that Apex Entertainment CEO and former Major League Baseball player Mark Ciardi will deliver this year’s spring commencement address.
Other universities in Maryland have also recently announced their chosen speakers, who range from judges to philanthropists to politicians, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who will be speaking at Morgan State University.
Some students said they were disappointed the University System of Maryland’s flagship institution did not bring in a bigger name for commencement.
Senior biochemistry major Brianna Young said she will not be attending the commencement address.
“I’d go if the university decided to bring in a celebrity or huge politician,” Young said.
Politicians seem to be a popular choice among Maryland schools. Morgan State University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore City Community College and Washington College all chose a commencement speaker from the political arena, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Retired Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress, will speak at the Maryland Institute College of Art undergraduate commencement. Mikulski is the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate who did not succeed her husband or father in elected office.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh will deliver the commencement speech for Baltimore City Community College. Pugh, the city’s third consecutive female mayor, served as Maryland Senate Majority Leader from 2015 to 2016.
“It would have made more sense to have a politician or someone of more importance speak,” said senior kinesiology major Arielle Deane. “It would’ve been more meaningful and of interest to students and families more at this time to have a political speaker.”
In the last 10 years, this university has brought in four politicians, three business leaders, two athletes and a journalist to speak at spring commencement, according to this university’s library.
Senior hearing and speech sciences major Lizzie Schaider said she is looking forward to having a commencement speaker who will not talk about politics.
“If it were a Democrat speaker, for example, it could make someone feel uncomfortable in front of thousands of people,” Schaider said. “Everyone’s there because we’re graduating, and the last thing you would want to do is stir controversy.”
Student Government Association president Katherine Swanson, who served on the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee, said the committee wanted to bring in an alumnus who could “toe the line between powerful, influential and partisan.”
Ciardi’s background in sports, business and film will make him inspiring to a lot of students, Swanson said.
“He can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different students,” the senior government and politics major said.
Ciardi has produced films such as The Game Plan, Invincible and Million Dollar Arm, and acted in The Rookie.
The commencement address will take place at Xfinity Center on May 21.