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Mechanical Engineering-Biomedical Option
Colorado Springs CO

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Megan Chapman on Monday, 18 October 2010. Posted in Life After RIT

RIT’s Gordon Fieldhouse was a buzz Saturday afternoon in anticipation of this year’s Horton Distinguished Speaker, Al Pacino.  Pacino spoke to a sold out crowd of 4,800 students, family, faculty, and staff. 

The Horton Distinguished Speaker was created by RIT Student Government to honor Frank Horton, a long time supporter of RIT.  He was also instrumental in starting NTID at RIT and there is now a scholarship for deaf and hard of hearing students in his honor.  RIT created the speaker series in order to bring in leaders from around the world including Rudy Guliani, Robert Redford, Ben Stein, Colin Powel, and two former presidents.  

Al Pacino was completely different than what I was expecting.  When you plan to see an inspirational speaker, you envision someone with a written out speech who stands for an hour talking about how hard you work and what your hard work means for the future of the world.  Al Pacino was nothing like this.  The presentation started with a montage of Pacino’s life and career and introduction from President Destler and Student Government.  Then, the stage opened to a living room type setup, very comfortable and laid back.  The interviewer was Jack Garner, a long time columnist for the Democrat and Chronicle.

Pacino was very down to earth and spoke about his career, upbringing, and faithful devotion to the art of acting.  His interview was inspiring in a way that inspirational speeches can’t really touch.  It felt like we were really getting to know him as he told of his emotional journey with friends such as Meryl Streep and on the set of The Godfather.  At the end, the audience was allowed to ask Pacino any questions they would like.  His advice to young actors: “It's about getting out there and working and thinking about what you do and learning your craft... Just be committed to what you do, and just work. I know it sounds like what everybody says, but it's so true.”  Al Pacino also responded, after hearing what a garbage plate was, “Can I get one to go?”


After the absolutely hilarious night of comedy Friday night with Craig Ferguson, Saturday afternoon was a nice way to start to wind down the weekend.  It really felt to me that I knew Pacino a little bit and got to see how really down to earth he is.  Pacino did not at all fit my expectations of a speaker, but that’s what made him so great.  It was much nicer to have a friendly, down to earth, speaker in a comfortable setting who is so passionate about what he does.  If I took one thing away from Pacino, be passionate about what you do and work hard at it.  So even as an engineer I can relate to the Academy Award winning actor.

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