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March 12, 2011

In 2008, due most likely to a clerical error, I was invited to be the guest speaker for the Phi Eta Sigmi Induction Ceremony at Missouri State.

 This was one of my proudest moments. In my last semester as a teaching assistant, a student asked me to be the guest speaker at a ceremony for a group in which she was an officer. As I already know but you may not, the last semester has always been the one where the pants are off and anything goes… at least in my life. I accepted without knowing who the group was due to the potential of a large captive audience. After I gave this speech, the Honors Fraternity sent out letters of apology to all the students and parents, and I even got one, too!  Please enjoy it.

Hello people sitting in the Student Union Theater. Inductees, parents, stray people who have wandered in looking for directions. I’m here to talk with you about something very close to my heart, and that is pornography. No, no, I’m just kidding. I’m actually here to speak with you about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 No, no. I’m kidding again. Sorry, somebody bet me five dollars I wouldn’t start my speech like that. Now I’m here today because I was asked to speak by one of my Facebook friends. And not just any Facebook friend, my best Facebook friend forever. I think that’s BFFF. And when a Facebook friend is in need, you must answer the call. Now I’m going to pass around a thank you card for you all to sign and give back to me.

Would everyone please rise? If you can rise without standing, please do so. Thank you, you may be seated. I'd like to thank the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Fraternity for inviting me to speak, and also the original speaker for cancelling so that I could speak to you all.  I’m here as the last minute replacement for Gary Brock, the sociology instructor. You all are really missing out, because I hear he is a great speaker. I’d like to dedicate this speech to Gary Brock, wherever you are. 

So this is my eighth and final year at Missouri State. Fun fact: I haven’t left campus in 3 years. In 2005, I set up my Internation’l Dan’l Headquarters inside a neglected room in the 24 hour computer lab in Cheek Hall.

Here is an interactive portion in my speech. Would everyone please join hands? Yep, grab your neighbor’s hand, even if they seem reluctant or don’t have a hand. If they don’t have a hand, latch on to their nub. Now I’d like to say a few words: Honor. Integrity. Respect. All-you-can-eat seafood buffet. One of these things is not like the other things. I’ll give you some time to decide. Are you all still holding hands? Neat.

My advice to you: do whatever you want to do. Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you to have a useful major, especially your parents. And, take Jack Knight’s philosophy class. And have a good time. Another thing I always enjoy doing, and I highly recommend is showing up in random classes on the first day of class. The instructors have no idea who is who. Just raise your hand when a name is called. It is so much fun. You can even get in trouble as that person with no threat of punishment, because no one knows who you are.

They recommend that you study three hours a week for every credit hour you’re taking. Well, if you’ve got 15 hours, that’s 45 hours a week. I don’t even know if there are 45 hours in a week. It just isn’t possible. So do what you can, which is not always what is recommended. And cheat. Cheat whenever you can. Cheat like you mean it. Now, I think it would be pretty tacky to have an advertisement in a speech. That being said, the Campus Subway, located on the corner of Harrison and Kimbrough, has great food and great prices. So, stop by and say hi to Tim and Vick, and tell them Dan’l sent you. Eat fresh, college freshmen.

At this point, I’d like to ask for a show of hands. Alright, I’m seeing some hands. Let me see all of them. Good. Good job. You guys are great. Ok, love you, bye.

And here is the letter of apology:

There were many yesterday who were dismayed at the remarks of the guest speaker at the induction ceremony. I sincerely regret if you were offended by his sense of humor or irreverent attitude. Our university is wonderfully diverse and is made up of many different personalities. Naturally there will be times when personalities and ideals clash and unfortunately you cannot plan when and where that may occur. We had planned for you to be inspired and challenged to put your obvious intellect to work to make this campus and your future lives better. Alas, that didn't happen.

I also regret you did not get to hear our original speaker.

Each of you has unique qualities that Phi Eta Sigma honors and prizes. I sincerely hope you'll accept our organization's apology and take an active part in this campus organization in order to help  it achieve noble goals during your school years.

Phi Eta Sigma is a serious organization dedicated to the celebration of learning; an organization that supports many philanthropies throughout our history on campus, and offers you leadership opportunities within the organization. I hope you will take the opportunity to get to know us better and help us grow.

Please convey or forward this email to your parents. We want them to understand our disappointment that their visit to campus was not 100% uplifting.


Dana Carroll, Ph.D.