With a few exceptions, most graduation speeches are forgettable: Work hard. Chase your dreams. Don’t give up.
But the most forgettable graduation speech of all is the one that never happens, which seems to be happening more and more these days.
At least three prominent leaders — former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau — cancelled their commencement speeches this spring after a typhoon of campus activism.
Consider what happened this week with Birgeneau, who had been scheduled to speak at Haverford College, a close-knit liberal arts...