July 5th, 2012
11:33 AM ET

Implosion brings down Crimson Tide landmark

by James Dinan, CNN

(CNN) It took just a few seconds for a 43-year-old dormitory to turn into rubble and dust.

Rose Towers, a landmark residence hall on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, was demolished via implosion Wednesday morning to make way for new student housing.

Dozens of people gathered near Rose Towers to see the dorm fall.

The university says that Rose Towers has been home to thousands of students, and once housed a child care center.   It will be replaced by the second phase of the school’s Presidential Village Residential Community, which is expected to open in two years.

Watch the above video to see a Crimson Tide landmark implode.

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Filed under: College • video
June 11th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

Commencement speaker tells grads they’re ‘not special’

by James Dinan, CNN

(CNN) - Most commencement speeches aren’t very memorable. The commencement ceremonies I’ve attended, both as a graduate and as a guest, featured speeches that sounded like the speaker just phoned it in and could have cured insomnia. All of the speeches talked about reaching for the stars and keeping your feet on the ground – it’s as if Casey Kasem wrote every commencement speech ever recited.

This takes us to David McCullough, Jr., an English teacher at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts. McCullough’s recent commencement speech to Wellesley’s Class of 2012 could be pared down to one sentence: You’re not special.

McCullough, son of the famed historian, told the graduates that they’ve been pampered all their lives by parents, teachers and others, but now they need to slip up and make mistakes as they try to make it as adults. You can catch part of McCullough’s speech in the above video.

Despite the bluntness of McCullough’s remarks, many critics are heaping praise at the speech, saying it is a wake-up call for a generation some say is self-centered and over-protected.

What do you think of McCullough’s speech? Was he mean-spirited, or was he just telling the truth?

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Filed under: Graduation • On air • Practice • video