Video: 'Shoot Adolf Hitler,' Ira Glass Urges Goucher Grads

Check out some of Ira Glass' commencement speech at Goucher College this morning.

As he does many weeks on the radio, Ira Glass gave graduating seniors life lessons punctuated by personal stories and irreverent words of wisdom.

Glass, a Baltimore native and host of Public Radio International's "This American Life," was invited to speak at Goucher's commencent by president and former NPR colleague . He spoke to the 273 graduating seniors, family, friends, faculty and others under a tent on the Goucher campus Friday morning.

Glass' other connection to Goucher? Frieda Friedlander, his grandmother, graduated in 1931. The graduate began by expressing his deep disdain for the format of the commencement speech.

"I believe that it is a doomed form," Glass said. "Commencement speakers give stock advice which is promptly ignored. The central mission of the commencement speaker is in itself ridiculous, to inspire at a moment which needs no inspiration or tell yourself at this moment that something incredible is happening to you right now."

Check out parts of Glass' inspiring "stock advice" in the video attached to this story.

At one point, Glass admitted that years ago he had lost his virginity on the Goucher campus.

"She was apparently into transcending boundaries," he said, referring to Goucher's more recent slogan, and paused as the audience laughed. "And I think that's all I'm going to say about that."

He spoke of how, at 20, he found himself working for a national radio show and it was there he learned how to write.

"I spent years in my 20s doing mediocre stories that should have taken me days, instead taking months," he said. "We would take NPR reporters and pay them $50 to look at scripts I was working on, which was much cheaper than grad school."

He talked about HBO's "Girls" and post-college life. And he finished by sharing the story of how his grandmother had the chance to shoot Adolf Hitler. Watch the video for more on that.

Glass was awarded an honorarary doctorate of humane letters, one of three honarary degrees handed out. Rear Adm. Margaret Grun Kibben, the deputy chief of U.S. Navy chaplains and a 1982 Goucher graduate, was issued an honorary doctor of divinity. State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp was awarded an honorary doctorate of law.


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