By Eric Geller
Associate Professor of Economics Jay Corrigan does not think it is entirely by chance that he will be the first economics professor in at least a dozen years to deliver the College’s baccalaureate address at the same time economics has become the most popular major on campus.
“I think that it’s probably not a coincidence,” Corrigan said, referring to the results of the senior class vote that elected him. Corrigan declined to discuss what he would say in his address on May 17, or even what themes it might stress. “I can’t get into specifics, in part because I don’t know,” Corrigan said. “I have known about this for some months now … but the fact is, I really haven’t decided yet.”
The baccalaureate address is a formal opportunity for Kenyon’s faculty to offer advice to the graduating class. It precedes the Commencement address, to be given this year by popular author Bill Bryson. “What is nice about this is that [the baccalaureate address comes] from somebody who is in the community, as opposed to an outsider who we’ve brought in,” Corrigan said.
“Perhaps,” he continued, “there’s something a little bit nice about having somebody from the community have something to say about the four years that you were here and the Commencement experience as well.” Corrigan said the “fairly soft” job market might be contributing to the popularity of the economics major.
The Class of 2014 “is one of the first classes who entered Kenyon at a time when the job market was fairly weak, and here they’re now exiting,” he said. “I imagine that for some people, they saw this as one of the more pre-professional majors that we offer at Kenyon.”
He also praised his fellow economics professors and said the Economics Department had “a very strong faculty right now.” Corrigan said he was “thrilled to have been invited” to deliver the baccalaureate address. “It’s very flattering that the students would choose me. I think that reflects well on the Economics Department too.”