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Bill Cosby speaks at Irvine Auditorium, hosted by SPEC Connaissance Credit: Thomas Jansen

On Wednesday night, comedian Bill Cosby strode onto the stage at Irvine Auditorium and plopped down into the navy chair at center stage.

“Hello?” Cosby said, glancing around the stage. “Someone’s supposed to read the questions.”

“Oh, I thought you’d memorized them,” Social Planning and Events Committee Connaissance Co-Director and College junior Nick Hogan said.

With that, Penn students were introduced to this year’s SPEC Fall Connaissance speaker, Philadelphia native Bill Cosby.

Cosby, who donned a red sweater with a navy “P” for the event, began his presentation by addressing questions from Penn students.

When asked about the role of education in his life, Cosby explained that he was apathetic about his studies as a child.

“I stopped education for me in the fourth grade because it was interfering with my playtime,” Cosby said.

Cosby explained that several years later he was “born again” and was ultimately inspired to pursue a doctorate in education.

“I wanted to be a schoolteacher to educate kids with a mindset like me,” Cosby said.

Cosby continued to address the audience about the importance of education, while also incorporating his characteristic humor.

“I never met anyone whose brain fell out from thinking too hard,” Cosby said. “I don’t know what you’re listening to with those earbuds. They’re musicians, and they’re millionaires. You’re not. Put something else in there.”

Of Cosby’s speech, College freshman Lydia Atangcho said, “I loved it. His humor was just right and he connected with the audience really well.”

Although SPEC Connassiance Co-Director and Engineering senior Mac Teng said Cosby’s speech provided “a good laugh,” many were surprised by the serious undertone of Cosby’s talk.

“I didn’t realize how serious his speech was going to be,” SPEC Connaissance Co-Director and Wharton sophomore Crystal Lu said. “I think he got through to people.”

College freshman Amanda Laura echoed Lu’s thoughts. “I’m totally a crier and got all teary when he started talking about inspirational teachers,” she said.

At the end of his speech, Cosby emphasized the importance of giving back throughout life.

“Do things,” Cosby said. “Reach out. You will feel beautiful about it.”

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