Science educator Bill Nye will be the keynote speaker for Harvey Mudd College’s commencement ceremony this May, the college revealed on its website March 26.
Nye is best known as the titular host of “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” an Emmy Award-winning educational program that aired on PBS from 1993 to 1998. He has also written a number of books under the “Science Guy” moniker.
“Bill Nye shaped the concept of science for many young Mudders,” wrote Senior Class President Roxie Bartholomew HM ’12 in an e-mail to TSL. Bartholomew and fellow Senior Class President Annie Jensen HM ’12 were responsible for determining suitable choices for this year’s speaker, primarily based on student input.
“We survey[ed] the seniors for input on who they would like the speaker to be,” Bartholomew wrote. “We pared it down and made a list of the top choices based on the number of times the name got submitted.”
Bartholomew and Jensen, who are both engineering majors, then submitted their list to the college administration. Director of the President’s Office Karen Angemi then contacted the top choices, Bartholomew said.
“When a few of our student-submitted choices fell through, Karen brought up Bill Nye as an option,” Bartholomew said. Nye had previously been Harvey Mudd’s commencement speaker in 2008, just months before the graduating class of 2012 began its first year at Harvey Mudd.
“Initially, there was some hesitation since he had so recently delivered the commencement address,” Bartholomew said. “However, no one from my class or the classes below saw his speech, unless they happened to be on campus then.”
“My entire class was incredibly jealous,” she continued. “Given how disappointed my class was that we missed him, we felt like they would be very excited to have him as commencement speaker.”
A Washington, D.C. native, Nye received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. He currently lives in Los Angeles and has continued to make appearances as an educator, even after his show ended.
“For some of us, we are finally going to meet the guy who got us interested in science in the first place,” Bartholomew said.
Harvey Mudd’s fifty-fourth commencement ceremony will occur May 13 at the Harvey S. Mudd Quadrangle at 1:30 p.m.