She's been on our wish list every year, and now indications are that poet and author Maya Angelou may receive an invitation to speak at next spring's Commencement. We think it is fitting that the committee charged with selecting this year's speaker is focusing on female candidates, given that 2001 is the 125th anniversary of women at Penn. And we can think of few women as qualified or as inspirational as Angelou, a talented orator best known for her 1970 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and "On the Pulse of Morning," the poem she wrote for President Clinton's 1993 inaugural. Opera singer Beverly Sills, the committee's other top choice for speaker, leaves us less than enthused. Even as chairwoman of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, she has yet to achieve the social significance we've come to expect of Commencement speakers. In that vein, should Angelou decline or be unable to attend, here are several other prominent female speakers we'd be happy to see wearing the cap and gown: € Madeleine Albright: Though often criticized and second-guessed, the first female secretary of state has been at the forefront of international diplomacy from the U.N. to the Balkans. € Carly Fiorina: As one of the top female business executives in the country, the CEO of Hewlett Packard is working to reinvent one of the pioneers of Silicon Valley. € Toni Morrison: Like Angelou, this Nobel Prize winner is one of America's boldest and most influential literary voices and one of our perennial favorites. € Joyce Carol Oates: One of the most respected and important fiction writers today, Oates would make a great choice -- even if she does teach at Princeton. € Sandra Day O'Connor: The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court has had a tremendous impact on American law as the key swing vote on a wide spectrum of social and jurisprudential issues. € Mary Robinson: The former president of Ireland brings a unique and compassionate perspective to global affairs as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.Comments powered by Disqus
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