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Josh Whedon to be Commencement Speaker for Wesleyan University


Wesleyan University gets commencement speaker: Joss Whedon

(the bitter) Victoria Zelvin

It’s official. Joss Whedon, 1987 alum of Virginia Wesleyan University, will be the commencement speaker for Wesleyan’s Class of 2013.

Whedon is an award-winning writer, director, and producer, whose career has been characterized by his steadily growing, but already enormously devoted fan base. Beginning with his work on television, Whedon cemented himself as a “geek god” with popular shows like “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”, as well as the short-lived but cult-classic “Firefly”. His other work has spread across mediums from comics (“Astonishing X-Men”, “Buffy”) to comedic superhero themed musicals (“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”). Perhaps the project that Whedon received his widest mainstream exposure was his sophomore directorial effort, “Marvel’s The Avengers”, which became the third highest grossing film ever after snagging the biggest opening weekend of all time record.

The response among the Wesleyan student body has been largely positive. Wesleyan senior Samantha Melvin posted on Facebook: “Graduation Day (that was a “Buffy” pun in case people don’t realize what a nerd I am) is going to be overshadowed by The Day I Met Joss Whedon because that is GOING to happen,” before quickly adding, “This is the second best thing that has ever happened to me besides getting into Wesleyan.” Other comments on social networking sites have reflected Melvin’s enthusiasm, adding in a number of jokes and quips questioning whether or not Whedon will take the opportunity to turn into a giant snake in preparation for his ascension.

Thought his career, Joss Whedon has inspired many of his fans with his characteristic wit, encouraging them to emulate him and engage him in a humorous fashion. During the Presidential election, Whedon came out in support of Mitt Romney – only, not entirely. According to the video Whedon released on the subject, “with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse … He’s not afraid to face a ravening, grasping horde of sub-humans, because that’s how he sees poor people already.”

Such a sense of humor has not endeared him to some, but the sarcasm evident in his “endorsement” can be seen time and again in his writing. For example, in response to critics of his “endorsement,” Whedon replied, “Good, good, start hording canned foods.”

While Wesleyan has picked out an amazing speaker, Roanoke has yet to announce ours. Hopefully Roanoke will be able to announce our commencement speaker soon.