Paul Simon to provide a memorable performance at commencement

The honorary degree recipient will sing at the main ceremony, and then speak at the School of Creative Arts’ commencement

Paul Simon

WALTHAM, Mass.—Amanda Hecker ’10 grew up listening to Paul Simon’s music, and she has nearly all of his songs on her iPod. So when it was recently announced that the acclaimed singer song-writer, who has won 12 Grammy Awards, would be one of this year’s honorary degree recipients at the May 23 main commencement ceremony, Hecker knew she couldn’t miss the opportunity to hear Simon sing in person.

Along with the help of Michael Weil ’10, Hecker immediately created a “Paul Simon Should Sing at Graduation 2010” Facebook group. Within days, more than 700 of her fellow students had joined the online campaign.

Today, in a letter sent to graduating seniors, Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz announced that the Facebook push paid off. After the administration contacted Simon’s management about the campaign, he agreed to sing a song at the main ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m., and then speak at the School of Creative Arts’ commencement in Spingold Theater Center that follows the main ceremony.

“I am so excited,” Hecker said shortly after hearing the news. “I got a few emails and text messages as I was walking out of a difficult test, and I just began jumping up and down and announcing to everybody around me that he was going to perform.

“I’m so impressed that the Brandeis community was able to come together for a cause, and that Simon is listening to us and doing us this favor. We will forever remember this.”

President Reinharz echoed those sentiments in his letter to graduating seniors: “This will certainly contribute to making commencement a memorable moment for you and your families," Reinharz said.

Simon is one of six distinguished individuals who will receive honorary degrees at this year's main commencement ceremony.

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