The value of Nick Selby’s speech

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Tech

There were many things people found captivating about Nick Selby’s convocation speech: his flawless execution, his enthusiasm and, most of all, the originality. As many of us now know, the speech wasn’t as original as we initially thought.

It didn’t take long for someone to “discover” that Selby had actually borrowed the ending of his speech from his former high school speech and debate coach, Andy Stone.

Does knowing this make Selby’s speech a little less epic? Of course it does, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the other factors that made his speech so fascinating.

Selby made it clear that he borrowed the ending of his speech from Stone, and claims that Stone gave him permission to do it. He never tried to claim it as his own or cover it up.

Do you really think Selby thought he was going to end up having to defend himself against plagiarism in an interview with Huffington Post? I’m going to say no.

For the people wondering what Stone is thinking about Selby’s speech going viral, I would have to imagine he is proud of him. As Selby’s former coach, why wouldn’t Stone be proud of seeing a former pupil give such a great speech?

As I mentioned earlier, it is definitely less epic that Selby didn’t come up with this himself; nevertheless, there were still aspects of Selby’s speech that made it so special.

First, the timing and execution were perfect.

Even if someone wrote the entire speech for him, it still takes skill to deliver it in the fashion that he did. I know couldn’t have delivered it as well as he did, and I doubt the majority of the students here could have either.

It’s also important to note that the part of the speech that didn’t go viral was actually really good.

It’s a shame that people aren’t seeing the beginning of the speech, which was not borrowed from someone else, because it is just as motivating and shows that Selby is plenty capable of writing a fantastic speech.

The purpose of Selby’s speech wasn’t for him to get his 15 minutes of fame. Although I’m sure his intention was to make the ending as epic as possible, I can’t imagine he knew it would become so big on the internet.

The purpose of his speech was for him to motivate the incoming freshman class, even if took a little help from an old friend, and I think the mission was accomplished.

Not to knock the person who gave the speech at my freshman convocation, because I’m sure they are an excellent speaker and put a lot of work into their speech, but I can’t remember anything about it.

For most of the freshman at convocation, this was their first thing they did at college, and Selby gave them a speech that they will probably never forget. Selby has now set the standard for all freshman convocation speeches. Good luck to whoever is doing it next year. You’ve got one hard act to follow.

Now if he can just finish that Iron Man suit.