I’m not a big speechifyer, which would seem to disqualify one from becoming a dean. On the contrary, as I dean I’m invited to all sorts of events and I am expected to “say a few words,” but that’s fine as “a few words” means five minutes or less. A couple of weeks ago, however, I was worried about taping a radio interview, but that also turned out to be easier than expected. Today I was asked to give a 20-minute speech at an awards banquet for graduating high school seniors. The pressure will be to come up with some thoughts that celebrate their individual accomplishments in conjunction with reminders about the operation of social structure; too often these celebratory events get boiled down to “you succeeded through hard work and hope,” ignoring the many other elements — visible and invisible — that contribute to individual success. I’ll have to figure out how to say something about the sociological imagination succinctly. Suggestions are welcome!