12/5/08: Dann Florek vs. Bill Clinton

Dear Dick Wolf:

When I graduated from college, Bill Clinton was our keynote speaker. It was 1998, and he selected three commencement ceremonies that year at which to speak. Ours, at Portland State University, was one of them. He also gave the commencement speeches at MIT, and the United States Naval Academy. Considering the prestige of these other two institutions, I have no idea how our humble PSU fell into that trio, but my classmates and I were over the moon when we found out. It was pretty exciting! Since, you know, he was President of the United States and all. One that we actually liked.

I was also a radio personality at the time (this is relevant, pinky swear). I was part of the morning show on KWJJ-FM. They called me “Danger Girl” (highly embarrassing) and it was my duty to go out and do pseudo-crazy stunts. I did things like climb bridges, ride in a hot air balloon, co-pilot a small plane – I even rode a bull. Yep, a real bull. Stayed on for about 3 seconds before it bucked me off into a big pile of guacamole-colored bull dung. Seriously gross. And to top it all off, I had to wear a neck-brace after an x-ray suggested that I’d broken my neck. Turned out it was merely whiplash (the x-ray was confused by a congenital defect that had gone undetected up to that point – a bone that never fused properly…looked broken…I digress)…

Well, when President Clinton came to Portland to speak at our graduation, I was given a Danger Girl assignment – infiltrate his hotel room and deliver a KWJJ t-shirt. My radio show cohorts told me to say I was an intern, maybe that would help…It didn’t. I got as far the hotel lobby elevator before I was stopped. However, the security guard did take the t-shirt and told me that he would deliver it to the President, along with our note asking him to wear it next the time he went jogging. The letter also said that I was looking forward to hearing him speak at my graduation ceremony.

And of course, true to his reputation, he gave an amazing speech.

Fast forward a month. A certified letter arrives at the radio station…for me…from the White House! It’s from Bill! He writes, “Thank you for the KWJJ t-shirt…Congratulations on your graduation…Hillary joins me in sending her best.” These are excerpts from the letter since I CAN’T FIND IT at the moment, or else I would it scan for you (GRRR! It’s around here somewhere, I was just looking at it a few months ago)…So, YAY! I got a letter from the President! He even signed it himself – no phony stamp signature. You can tell because the ink leaked through to the back of the OFFICIAL PIECE OF WHITE HOUSE stationery it’s written on! (DAMMIT, where is that letter?!?!?) It was a great overall experience.

But as cool as it is to boast about having President Clinton speak at your graduation, I have to admit, the students at Eastern Michigan University have their own reason to celebrate!

From The Ann Arbor News:

“Law & Order” star Dann Florek, who plays police Capt. Donald Cragen on the Special Victims Unit series, will be Eastern Michigan University’s commencement speaker at the Dec. 14 ceremony.

Florek, who attended EMU from 1969 to 1975 and is married to an EMU alum, has had a long theater acting career. He also has appeared on the large and small screens.

According to his bio on Internet movie database imdb.com, Florek is one of the original “Law & Order” characters – he played the captain in the original series beginning in 1990.

Woo-hoo! Captain Cragen live! And the best part, people can volunteer to be a part of it! (Although somebody should tell them they’ve misspelled his name – hope they don’t do that on the “Welcome” banners.) I wish I didn’t have to work that part-time weekend job in order to eat. I’d totally do it.

Hey – YOU should pull a funny on him and work the event! Ha! How great would that be?! And right before he goes on stage, tell him that if he blows it, he’s fired. Heh heh 😉

Ok, maybe not. but tell him congrats for me the next time you see him! Or – you could invite me to New York to audition for SVU and I could tell him myself…

Just a thought.

Thank you. Amen.

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 7:52 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thats a great story. Where is the letter? *heh*

    And I’m still mad that your not on SVU yet.

  2. That was a great day… seems like it was just 10 years ago… I didn’t know about the t-shirt and the thank you note, though! Very cool!!!

  3. You could put out those hanging nets with bird feed in them to hang in trees. They seem to go down very well. You can get them in all hardware stores.

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