Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 12, 2024

BREAKING: University announces Elon Musk as 2023 commencement speaker

By ELLEN MUSQUE | April 1, 2023



Elon Musk has made several demands to the University in order to be the 2023 commencement speaker.

APRIL FOOLS’: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fools’ Day edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious in its reporting.

In a recent broadcast email, Hopkins announced that this year’s commencement speaker for the Class of 2023 would be American business magnate Elon Musk. The announcement was later confirmed in a cryptic tweet from Musk himself.

President Ronald J. Daniels described the rationale for this decision in an interview with The News-Letter.

“Oftentimes, we worry that our commencement speakers can be too polemic. Luckily, Musk isn’t that controversial of a figure because almost nobody likes him,” he said. 

In an interview with The News-Letter, Musk described his rationale for accepting the University’s invitation, despite his claims earlier in March that elite colleges contained “Soviet level of indoctrination.”

“I figured this was my opportunity to tell the students that they should get out while they still can,” he said. “I mean, I know I’m giving a speech to kids who are hours away from getting their $400,000 degrees, but I think that only goes to show how successful the talk will be. None of the students hearing it will get a bachelor’s degree again.”

According to Daniels, the University had to make several concessions to Musk to get him to come. To start, Musk refused to spend the night in Baltimore. Instead, he plans to commute to the event from his Austin home via Hyperloop. 

He also asked the University to revise its name to be more search-engine-optimization-friendly and thus more appealing to future investors. 

“I didn’t have the heart to tell him that we’re not a startup,” Daniels said. “But part of me wonders if he’s pushing the name change because he’s thinking of buying us out soon.”

Musk conducted a poll on his Twitter account asking for student opinions about the construction of the newest student center. Because 51% of students said that they felt the noise was disruptive to learning, Musk has made the University scrap the project. Instead, Hopkins will be partnering with SpaceX to begin construction of the student center on Mars. 

Musk has also requested for Hopkins to start an elite subscription service for students called Hopkins Plus, much like Twitter Blue. Students with Hopkins Plus subscriptions would have the opportunity to skip two-factor authentication whenever they log into their campus email, bring food into the library if they show their Hopkins Plus badge and get an instant Lyft whenever they call a Blue Jay Shuttle. Of course, Hopkins Plus students would also get unlimited rocket ships to the student center on Mars. 

While Twitter Blue subscribers receive a blue checkmark on their Twitter page, Hopkins Plus students will be given a similarly useless navy blue crown that they can wear to their classes every day in order to distinguish how special they are. 

“I’m thinking that we start the service at $1000 a month,” Musk said. “Or then again, maybe that would make the service seem too accessible. We could also auction off 100 memberships to the highest bidders to make the program as exclusive as possible.”

Daniels outlined the University’s response to Musk’s request. 

“Again, that’s not really how we do things around here,” he said. “But then again, if Musk were willing to, I don’t know, just leave a Tesla outside the president’s mansion and drop the keys off in my mailbox, then we might be able to talk.”

According to Musk, the content of his commencement address will prove, in sequence, why every major is useless given the nation’s impending recession and the advent of advanced artificial intelligence technologies.

“Don’t even get me started about the biomedical engineering kids. I already have ChatGPT-4 designing bionic humans for me,” he said.

Upon hearing the news, some students are no longer looking forward to the ceremony.

Senior William Entries, who is majoring in Computer Science, described his reaction to Musk’s declaration that college is useless, especially given the recent layoffs from major tech companies.

“I feel betrayed,” he said. “I decided to abandon all my passions so I could have a stable job, and now I won’t even have a stable job.” 

Jane Magenta, an English major who was hoping that the commencement speaker would be Margaret Atwood, said that she plans on sleeping through the address in protest.

“To be honest, the ceremony starts at 9 a.m., so I was kinda planning on sleeping through it anyways,” she said. “Having Musk do it just seems to make it all the more easy.”

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