Ohio State’s Commencement Speech: Innovation or Misstep?

Chris Pan, an alumnus and social entrepreneur, gave a controversial commencement speech at the Ohio State University’s ceremony. The event held at Ohio Stadium had over 12,000 graduates along with their families and friends. The speech was anything but ordinary.

Unique Aspects of the Speech

The commencement speech started off normally but took an unusual twist when Chris Pan, inspired by psychedelic ayahuasca, urged the audience to rise and join in singing popular tunes like “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes and ”This Little Light of Mine.” It all felt quite strange instead of inspirational.


  • Pan’s request for the audience to stand up and “get our energy flowing” while trying to start a singalong was met with mixed reactions.
  • Pan also tried to promote Bitcoin as a business opportunity during his speech. This move was met with displeasure from those attending.
  • Pan confirmed that he used ayahuasca or “Ayahuasca Intelligence” while preparing his address in a LinkedIn post before the event.

Common Perception

The unusual nature of Pan’s speech led to a variety of responses from bafflement to curiosity to outright disapproval. Press outlets quickly reported this story, focusing on Pan’s use of hallucinogenic substances for crafting his address and the bold inclusion of casual investment advice spotlighted it even further.

Institution’s Response

Ohio State University adopted its usual noninterference policy that refrains from prior vetting or approval of speeches given by invited guests on campus events. When asked about this issue publicly, spokespersons stated that this hands off approach is in place to protect a speaker’s right to freedom of expression, regardless of the outcome.

Long Term Effects

The unusual 2024 commencement speech at Ohio State has sparked discussions concerning what is suitable for important public events. It also puts into focus the challenges universities may face when choosing inspiring and innovative speakers for such events without stealing the limelight from students’ academic accomplishments. And in retrospect, while Pan’s aim might have been to deliver an unforgettable speech, it was certainly not perceived well by all due to its content.

Future Scenarios

The incident at Ohio State sheds light on the caution needed when balancing innovation with academic traditions for such events. Universities must set clear guidelines for their speakers to minimize potential controversies and ensure that the event remains student centric and celebratory.

To summarize, while the 2024 Ohio State commencement speech may be remembered because of its unusual nature, it might be known more so for its controversies than actual content, causing many educational bodies to rethink how they select speakers for future commencement ceremonies.


Maxwell Peterson

Maxwell Peterson is a distinguished cryptocurrency expert, hailing from San Francisco, California. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University and a Master's in Financial Technology from the University of Edinburgh. His passion for blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize the financial industry has driven him to become a leading voice in the cryptocurrency community. Maxwell is committed to making complex financial concepts accessible to a broader audience, dedicating his career to educating people about the benefits and intricacies of cryptocurrencies.

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