United Press International
Big Bird Caroll Spinney, whose selection as speaker irked some at
Villanova, gave an impressive speech at the Pennsylvania school's
Spinney, who has been Big Bird and the voice of Oscar the Grouch
for decades on Sesame Street, told a commencement ceremony audience
he believed it was his destiny to teach children with the help of
The initial announcement that Spinney was to be the speaker at
Villanova was met with skepticism. But the Philadelphia Inquirer
said that after Sunday's ceremonies, many graduates felt this
brought their education full circle.
Spinney delivered parts of his 11-minute talk as the two
characters who have become part of nearly every preschooler's life
over the last 35 years. The Inquirer said Spinney opened his speech
as Big Bird, saying: Hello. I am your first teacher.
He closed as Oscar the Grouch, pulling the puppet out and having
it mouth, In 30 years you may not remember who this guy is but you
will remember that Oscar the Grouch was your commencement speaker.
As part of Sunday's ceremony, Spinney was awarded an honorary
doctorate of humane letters.