Graduation has been a long time coming for this year’s Commencement student speaker. Maxwell T. Robidoux entered BU as a freshman in 2010, but left after just three semesters.
“I matriculated in 2010, and was here a year and a half before taking time off and moving back home to Seattle,” says Robidoux (CAS’17). “I was sure I hated Boston and the East Coast, and I wanted to move back home where everything made sense. But after a while, I realized that Boston wasn’t that bad and wasn’t that different, and that I had made the right choice originally. It was a period of self-discovery.”
Robidoux had taken classes at a local college while he was back in Seattle, and after returning to campus in fall 2016, he hit his stride, changing his major from social work to psychology and sociology and becoming vice president of the BU Pre-Law Review. The 25-year-old is now waiting to learn whether he’s been accepted to BU’s School of Law for the fall.
This Sunday, Robidoux will address an estimated 25,000 people at the University’s 144th Commencement. Each spring, graduating seniors are invited to submit a potential Commencement address to a faculty committee. This year, the committee weeded through 62 submissions before settling on 5 finalists, who then had to deliver their speech in a mock Commencement setting.
His speech will focus on the importance of intellectual integrity, an issue that has taken on increased urgency after President Donald Trump accused CNN of reporting what he calls fake news. “What responsibility do we as college graduates have to uphold intellectual integrity and propagate its values?” Robidoux asks. “It’s a scary time. I personally put so much value in empiricism and objectivity, reason and rationality, and I feel like all of those values are under assault right now. It’s something I really wanted …