Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani Gives Cornell University Commencement Address

The man who helped usher New York City out of the horrors of 9/11 has been tapped to help usher a graduating class into the post-college world. On May 28th, 2011, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be the keynote speaker at Cornell University's graduation ceremony being held at the school's Schoellkopf Stadium.

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By Harrison Howe

Rudy Giuliani

The First-Name-Only Politician

Dubbed 'America's Mayor' for the leadership he displayed during and after the 9/11 attacks, Giuliani became known simply as 'Rudy' in the months following the disastrous event. In December 2001, he was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

Giuliani began his career as Associate Attorney General in 1981. He was elected the 107th Mayor of New York City in 1993 and was re-elected in 1997. During his two terms, Giuliani turned New York City into the safest of all major cities in America. Overall crime, particularly murder, was greatly reduced while he served in office.

Reforms in law enforcement and welfare and his efforts in the area of public education also stand out as notable achievements on Giuliani's mayoral resume. His programs helped cut welfare in the city in half, improve crime-fighting strategies, increase tourism and provide health insurance to needy families.

In 2011, Giuliani joins a list of current and past political figures hitting the commencement trail. This list includes President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House John Boehner, former Vice President Al Gore, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker.

Cornell University

Cornell University

The 'First American University' Meets Its First Republican Speaker

Founded in 1865 in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University has been regarded by some as the 'first truly American university'. The Ivy League school enrolls more than 20,000 students. It began its tradition of inviting a guest speaker to commencement ceremonies in 1984.

Since that time, politically-oriented speakers have been predominantly Democrats, including Bill Clinton, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and former Attorney General Janet Reno. Giuliani's appearance will mark the first time a Republican has taken the stage for the university's commencement.

The selection of Giuliani has left many pleased. 'I figured if they were going to bring anyone from politics it would be someone slightly to the left-of-center or part of the left. It is encouraging to see that there's a consideration of the other side,' said Peter Bouris, chair of the Cornell Republicans.

So why Giuliani? Ultimately it was his leadership qualities, says Convocation Committee Chair Christopher Mejia. 'Giuliani's ability to rise to the occasion…in the aftermath of 9/11 exemplifies the dynamic leadership that graduates of Cornell University aspire to,' he said.

You might find people like Rudy Giuliani inspiring if you're eyeing a career in politics. Find out what types of jobs are available in this field.

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