A video of Georgia Tech student Nick Selby delivering what was pretty much the most epic convocation speech ever went viral this week, and as with all viral phenomenons, there have been plaudits as well as criticisms.
“I am telling you if you want to change the world, you’re at Georgia Tech. You can do that! If you want to build the ‘Iron Man’ suit, you are at Georgia Tech. You can do that! If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like (beep), we’re at Georgia Tech. We can do that! I am doing that!” Selby screamed while the theme music of 2001: A Space Odyssey played in the background.
It was an epic speech, but it might have been epically ripped off, reports Gawker.
Selby’s speech is lifted also verbatim from one given by Arizona State University debate champion Andy Stone in 2008. Stone was also the Assistant Coach of the Speech, Theater and Debate Company at Desert Vista High School, where Selby attended.
And yes, they knew each other.
So did Selby rip off his mentor? He said that he never made any secret of the source and inspiration of his convocation speech, and other Georgia Tech folks have backed him up.
Selby also appeared on HuffPost Live (video above) to defend himself: “I promise I didn’t rip him off. When I saw his speech, I thought it was so amazing…. I really wanted to use that to pump up the freshmen.”
“I asked him for permission and he very graciously agreed,” Selby said.
He also posted Stone’s speech to his Facebook page, openly admitting that he cribbed his speech a bit from his coach.
There’s always a catch with these viral stories, but we’re letting Nick Selby off the hook. His Georgia Tech speech might never have gone viral and it never would have mattered.