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Rainn Wilson speaks at WSU graduation

Norlito Ranchez Jr.

In true Dwight Schrute fashion, Rainn Wilson opened his commencement speech with the words “Blood alone moves the wheels of history,” sending the crowd into an uproar.

When calling back to an episode of “The Office,” in which his character gives an awkward acceptance speech, Wilson’s appearance evoked many shouts of “I love you, Dwight,” from the crowd.

Wilson was invited to give Weber State University’s spring 2024 commencement speech as part of an effort to establish commencement as an event for the local community to come together and celebrate graduates, according to university President Brad Mortensen.

Wilson’s recent work has revolved around spirituality and mental health, and these topics were brought up in the commencement speech as well. In the speech, he presented graduates with five tips that would lead to a more meaningful life.

The first of these tips was to “gather a bouquet of virtues.” Wilson explained that this meant to see every virtue you possess as a different flower in a bouquet. To get the biggest, fullest bouquet, he said you need to exercise as many different virtues as you can.

Another tip was “live like it’s ‘Dungeons and Dragons.’” Stating that younger generations have more mental illness in correlation with the invention of social media, Wilson encouraged students to connect with each other more and focus more on genuine human connection.

Before the speech, Wilson was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities.

“This is the first honorary degree I’ve ever received,” Wilson said before commencement began in an exclusive interview with The Signpost. “I don’t even know what it’s in. I hope it’s computer science,” he joked.

During this interview, Wilson talked about his hopes for the new generation and elaborated more on what he hoped people would take away from his speech. He expressed that learning is important and that he advised students to continually seek knowledge.

“I think we never stop learning. It’s not about the four years that you’re in college. You want to keep learning to your 80s,” Wilson said. “I think in your 90s you can be done, but at least through your 80s.”

Wilson also stated that he would be interested in teaching a college class eventually. He joked that he would like to know what subject his honorary degree is in first, but that he could see himself teaching acting in college.

“But I also love teaching classes about big ideas, great books, and stuff like that. Maybe Weber State will offer me a professorship,” Wilson said.

During the interview, Wilson joked that his biggest hope for the new generation is that they get over themselves.

“My hope for this generation is that they understand that they have a responsibility to make the world a better place,” Wilson said. “You don’t have to do it in some grandiose way. It can be in your cul-de-sac, it can be at your church, it can be at your school, it can be in your local park, whatever it is. But if we get people thinking on those terms, then we really can make the world better.”

The full Signpost interview with Wilson will be posted on our Instagram, TikTok and Youtube accounts (@wsusignpost).

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About the Contributors
Megan Swann
Megan Swann, Co-culture editor
Norlito Ranchez Jr.
Norlito Ranchez Jr., Asst. Photographer Editor

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