Campus / Featured / News / February 13, 2013

Ed Helms chosen as 2013 commencement speaker


In a move that has excited much of student body, Knox College announced that the 2013 commencement speaker will be actor and comedian Ed Helms.

Helms is best known for his role as Dr. Stu Price, a dentist who experiences a disastrous weekend with his friends, in the film “The Hangover.” Other major parts he has played include workplace irritant Andy Bernard on the popular TV show “The Office” and naïve insurance salesman Tim Lippe in lead role of 2011’s “Cedar Rapids.”

“Mr. Helms is an iconic figure for this generation of students,” President Teresa Amott said in an email to campus announcing the news, referring to the popularity of these and other roles Helms has played.

He was also a longtime correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” making him the second Daily Show veteran to be a commencement speaker at Knox after Stephen Colbert gave the address in 2006. Helms also does occasional voiceover work for Colbert’s current show, “The Colbert Report.”

“As a graduate of a liberal arts college, he brings with him an appreciation of the student experience one finds at colleges like Knox,” said Amott.

Initially from Atlanta, Helms is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio, another Midwestern liberal arts school. He began his time at Oberlin as a geology major but later switched to studying film studies and technology. Asked about the change later, he cited concern about having to use his geology degree to work for companies with whose environmental policies he disagreed.

A semester as an exchange student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts helped to direct him towards work in entertainment. He was doing editing and voiceover work in New York when he went to an open audition for The Daily Show. The role he landed as a result of that audition launched his career as an actor.

Current work includes a third “Hangover” installment and a “National Lampoon’s Vacation” spinoff where he will play Rusty Griswald, now an adult leading his own family on a disastrous quest for family fun. He also has a long-brewing pet project involving a time-traveling Civil War re-enactor.

Helms has won three awards of the eight for which he has been nominated. For his role as Andy Bernard on the office, Helms shares a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

Helms is also known to be a talented banjo and bluegrass guitar player. Together with two college friends, he plays occasional shows in a band called The Lonesome Trio. He also has a love of a cappella music, a trait which he shares with his character on “The Office.”

Helms’s uncle is Knox College trustee Dan Martin ’61. Martin helped to secure his nephew for this year’s commencement.

Commencement will be held on June 8 and is open to all students who wish to attend.

Charlie Megenity
Charlie Megenity (formerly Gorney) is a senior double majoring in political science and economics. He previously served TKS as managing editor and as co-news editor while working as the weekend reporter for The Galesburg Register-Mail. Over the summer of 2012, Charlie interned in Wisconsin with, an online hyperlocal news source, where he covered the August 2012 Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting; he will return to Patch during the summer of 2013. He is also the journalism editor for Catch magazine.. Charlie has received three awards from the Illinois College Press Association for newswriting and design, including a first place award for front page layout. He was the 2013 recipient of the Theodore Hazen Kimble Memorial Award in Journalism for a feature story published in The Knox Student. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post.
Matt Barry
Matt Barry is a senior majoring in international relations and double minoring in economics and German. This is his third year working for TKS, having served previously as discourse editor. He has worked for such organizations as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Premier Tourism Marketing and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, where his work appeared in such publications as Leisure Group Travel, Ski & Ride Club Guide and The Chicago Monitor. Matt has written his political opinion column, "The Voice of Reason," weekly for three years, which finished in first place at the 2012 Illinois College Press Association conference and was also recognized at the 2013 conference.

Tags:  2013 Commencement Andy Bernard commencement speaker Ed Helms Knox College Knox College commencement The Daily Show The Hangover The Office

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1 Comment

Feb 18, 2013

For a while all the speakers were people who worked in politics. Each of them were good, but having someone from another domain (Ed) should be a breath of fresh air.

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