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Conley Selected to Speak at Killian

By David D. Hsu
News Editor

For the first time ever, a student, Catherine D. Conley, will deliver Killian Kick-Off rush keynote address. Conley replaces the speaker for the three previous years, William Keim. She will speak this afternoon to the Class of 1999.

Conley's selection is a "new innovation [in] having an undergraduate speak to other undergraduates," said Ida G. Faber, undergraduate academic affairs assistant and adviser to the Residence and Orientation Week Committee.

Last spring, the R/O Committee opted for a student speaker. The committee "was really looking for an undergraduate address for and by undergraduates," said Ida G. Faber, undergraduate academic affairs assistant and advisor to the Residence and Orientation Week Committee. The keynote speaker follows the R/O practice of students' coordinating activities, she said.

In the decision to drop Keim, the committee felt it was "more relevant for an upperclass student to deliver the keynote speech," said Institute R/O Chair Sanjay K. Chugh '97. A student would better be able to "address issues freshmen might be feeling," he said.

Will encourage exploration

In addition to providing an undergraduate prospective, Conley hopes to show that students are "more than just brains; we might actually be articulate," she said.

While Conley will touch on the fears and apprehensions of freshmen, "in general, I try to be pretty upbeat," she said.

Conley will urge the freshmen to "explore all the options and opportunities available at MIT and in Boston," she said. The speech will ask students to "get out and see what's available, be adventurous, and have fun," she said.

Freshmen should remember that "life is not an experiment, it's an experience," Conley said.

Conley is Baker House president and active in the Musical Theater Guild.

Conley bested 20 other undergraduate applicants in an Institute-wide contest last spring, Chugh said.

Applicants submitted a five- minute sample text of their speech, the outline of the entire speech, a resume, and recommendations, Faber said.

Since the contest had never been held before, "we were kind of worried about the number of applications," Chugh said.

But after applications were submitted, "we were thrilled both with the quality and quantity of the applicants," Faber said.

Five finalists were selected from the initial pool, Faber said. The five had to audition in front of the committee and were judged on the content of their speeches and the quality of their delivery, she said.

The committee did not select a speaker concerned with rushing independent living groups, Chugh said. "In choosing the speaker, it didn't matter their year, race, or where they lived," he said. "We were looking for the best speaker."

Conley focused on the "personality of what MIT's like, not just rush," she said.

Conley will be joined by the President of the Dormitory Council Dhaya Lakshminarayanan '96, Chair of the Women's Conference Stephanie A. Sparvero '96, and Interfraternity Council Rush Chair Alison L. Walters '96. Chugh will emcee the Killian Kick-Off.