Pamela Bump

Equinox Staff


The Class of 2014 will soon begin its campaign to bring television star, comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to Keene State College as a speaker for their Commencement Ceremony.

Junior class President Jackie Efraimson explained, “We wanted to break tradition and we liked the idea of giving Keene State a name. How crazy would it be if we got someone famous to speak at Keene State College at graduation? It’s a long shot, but we’re going with it.”

Efraimson said that the idea of DeGeneres as a speaker emerged in a meeting of the junior class executive board (e-board) last year, when DeGeneres was brought up and discussed in detail.

Efraimson explained that the e-board students and faculty advisor, Peg Richmond, decided that they wanted DeGeneres as the speaker for their graduation and began to create a campaign that could gain the “famous” comedian’s attention.

Efraimson said the board was interested in the idea of a famous person as a speaker because “It’s taking a guest speaker at a New Hampshire state college to a whole new level,” Efraimson said.

Junior class Vice President Aaron Testa similarly added, “She’s someone of a different caliber.”

Testa explained, “She’s an approachable, well-rounded human. She has multiple interests which we can all relate to, as we can all relate to her in one way or another.”

Testa and Efraimson noted they already have campaign strategies in motion.

The president and vice president said that one portion of the campaign will involve a traveling cardboard cutout of Ellen DeGeneres.

Testa explained, “We’re working on getting a cut-out and raising awareness about her and what we’re trying to do.”

He continued, “When we have the cutout, we’ll be able to take her to different events around Keene and we’ll send her pictures of her saying ‘Look what Ellen did today,’ or ‘Look what Ellen did this week.’ We hope she’ll look at these pictures and she’ll see this repetition of attention coming from Keene.”

Efraimson added, “We’re going to send her pictures and messages with everything we do. Our cut-out is meant to show Ellen doing everything we do. So she’s going through the experiences of the next two years with us.“

According to Efraimson, the e-board will also use social networks, such as Facebook, to make groups and pages that will help to spread awareness throughout the junior class.

Efraimson shared that she would also like to get students of the junior class involved in this project by making a video to send to DeGeneres.

“We discussed the idea of getting students to speak and say why Ellen should come here, what’s so great about Keene and, if she were to choose a college, why she should come here above all,” Efraimson explained.

She continued, “When we create the video, we want different types of groups and different types of people to participate in it, just to get everyone as involved as possible. We would love everybody to get involved and for everybody to help as much as possible.”

Efraimson explained we want to use our ideas and collaborate and do things to get her attention.”

Brittany Birk, a fellow student of the junior class, said she was excited about the e-board’s idea and campaign plans.

“Ellen is fantastic,” Birk stated, “She’s funny and motivational. She’s also a strong advocate for equality.”

Although DeGeneres would be speaking for the junior class, sophomore Kyle Bailey said that the possibility of DeGeneres speaking at KSC was interesting. Bailey commented, “It would be cool to have a famous person on campus.”

Senior Matt Lugo similarly explained that Ellen would be a great speaker because of her diverse personality.

Lugo said, “She’s understanding of differences and there are a lot of different outgoing people here. She’ll fit in with the diverse group on campus.”

Lugo mentioned that he was also a fan of DeGeneres and would have liked her as a speaker at his own graduation.

Juniors Hannah Quinn and Melissa Jellie recognized DeGeneres as a person who would encourage diversity on the KSC campus.

Both Quinn and Jellie similarly said that they recognized how she had broken many barriers after famously opening up about her sexuality to the public and throughout the media.

Quinn stated “She’s one of the voices of our generation. She’s also one of the first people to actually come out on television. She’s also a big supporter of movements in our country and a big influence on LGBT groups.”

Jellie said DeGeneres seemed like someone who related well with audiences.

Jellie shared because she’s a fan of DeGeneres, “I would be really excited if Ellen spoke at graduation. She’s really inspiring, energetic and fun. She’ll definitely keep us entertained.”

The next steps of the campaign will begin soon, according to Efraimson.

“We’re going to pretty much explain what we’re doing and break this during Pumpkin [F]est,” Efraimson mentioned.

She further said about the campaign that, “It’s just pure putting it out there and seeing what we can do, and what she can do.”

Efraimson added, “It’s not just for our e-board. It’s for our class. It’s for however many people there are graduating in 2014.”

Efraimson said the junior class will have an important role in spreading awareness and in reaching out to a celebrity like DeGeneres, who could possibly be the speaker at their own graduation.

Efraimson concluded, “Why not change it up? Why not make it our own?”



  Pamela Bump can be contacted at            


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