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Budde named commencement speaker


Dennis Budde

By Jieya Wen     4/8/15 5:14pm

Dennis Budde, a Baker College senior, will speak about improvisation as the student convocation speaker at the commencement ceremony on May 16. 

“[My speech] is about improvising and making sure that you leave some room for improvisation in your life,” Budde said. “But you also need to make sure you’re sticking to your plans and working hard. … Appreciate the balance.”

Budde said he plans to talk about how he discovered improvisation in college. His experience in comedy groups, particularly Rice’s Kinda Sketchy, will be a major part of his speech. 

“I’m in the sketch comedy group here and I joined it freshmen year,” Budde said. “The people that I met in theater are the ones who encouraged me to start doing sketch comedy, and if I had just been just trying to stick to my plan, I wouldn’t have done that – it wasn’t anything I ever thought about doing. But instead I went for it. I improvised and it turned my life around.”

Budde said he has always been interested in performing and writing. One of his writing principles, “the smaller you go, the bigger your audience ends up being,” helped him decide on the content of his speech. 

“If you are trying to make some big blanket statement then you will just get something wrong,” Budde said. “So I decided that I’ll just talk about something that’s important to me that I’ve personally learned and hoped that it worked.”

One of the messages he wants to deliver to the graduating class is the balance between planning and improvisation, Budde said. 

“People don’t really think about improvising in their lives so much,” Budde said. “You want to set up your five-year plan and leave no room for improvisation. Maybe what you are doing next is what you had always been planning on doing, but don’t force yourself to stick with it if it’s not what you want.”

Budde said it is important to him that the audience has fun listening to his speech. 

“One of the problems is that commencement speeches in general don’t keep people interested,” Budde said. “With that in mind, I really tried to make [my speech] entertaining as well.”

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