GOING VIREL: Thomas Jefferson University graduation announcer makes common names during ceremony (VIDEO) | The Gateway expert

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Credit: @colleenb415/Tiktok

A recent graduation ceremony at Thomas Jefferson University has become the talk of social media for all the wrong reasons.

The opening event was marred by the announcer’s unique pronunciation of graduates’ names, with even common names like Elizabeth and Thomas – ironically the university’s namesake – being butchered beyond recognition.

One TikTok user, @colleenb415posted a video of the ceremony with the caption: “Please tell me how anyone can speak at the commencement of college and screw it up so badly.”

The video went viral and was viewed more than 7 million times within 17 hours. In the clip, you could hear the announcer rattling off simple names.

Social media users are baffled at how the announcer was allowed to continue despite the mistakes becoming increasingly apparent.

Here’s a clearer version:

Below are some comments:

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Another maker, @sauc.y, shared a video in which the announcer publicly apologized, saying, “And I apologize for the phonetic spelling, er, pronunciation of the names that were on the cards. I would have been better off just reading the book. Apologies graduates.”

According to @sauc.yit took the announcer almost 30 minutes to realize the extent of the problem.

@sauc.y In reply to @lucy_gillian #greenscreenvideo ♬ original sound – Saucy

Lauren Conway, one of the nursing graduates, reflected on the incident.

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“Someone went up to her and said, ‘just read the names, not the phonetic spelling’ and then she picked up one of the beginning books and read the names,” Conway wrote. ‘She apologized…I think she just didn’t realize it and possibly was nervous!!

The incident sparked a flurry of questions on TikTok about how such mistakes could happen, with another commenter writing: “Anyway, even if it’s written phonetically?” Some social media users attributed this to the DEI agenda.

To give context to the accidents, phonetics is the scientific study of speech sounds. For example, the name “Thomas” has a few variations, but the standard pronunciations include “TAW-muhs” and “TOM-uhs.” Likewise, “Elizabeth” can vary, but typically includes “ee-LIH-zuh-beth” or “el-LIZ-uh-beth.”

The gaffe-ridden ceremony undoubtedly put Thomas Jefferson University in an unwanted spotlight.

Others pointed out that the scene is reminiscent of a humorous moment from a Key & Peele sketch in which names are humorously mispronounced.


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