Jimmy Buffett delivered the commencement speech at the University of Miami on Friday afternoon. Before his speech, he was given an honorary Doctor of Music degree.
Buffett told the crowd he was inspired to become a marine biologist after visiting the aquarium while on vacation in Florida with his family – and he wanted to study at UM.
“I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau with a Southern accent,” he said.
The closest he got was a nearby bar that’s now called Titanic Restaurant and Brewery, where Buffett said he landed his first paying gig.
He distilled his advice into a checklist for the “ever-elusive future.” The four bits of wisdom he shared: Everything in moderation. Make your avocation your vocation. Go see the world. And “be Santa Claus when you can.”
Wearing aviator sunglasses (he said he forgot his reading glasses,) Buffett encouraged students to get out and see the world. “Use your time well. Beware of falling into the sedentary trap.”
With graduation around the corner, the UM has announced that singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett will be among this year’s commencement speakers at one of the ceremonies Friday at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables.
The Margaritaville singer will deliver the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday when students from the schools of architecture, communication, education and human development, marine and atmospheric science, music, and nursing and health studies will cross the stage.
UM’s announcement teases that Buffett “may or may not sing his advice.”
The Pascagoula native was in New Orleans over the weekend, and rented a car with longtime friend Franz Hanning and drove from the Big Easy down highway 90 and into Jackson County and had lunch at Scranton’s in Pascagoula. Hanning is also a Pascaoula native and is the brother-in-law of Scranton’s co-owner Jack Pickett.
“I got a call about 10 Sunday night that they might be coming,” Richard Chenoweth, also a Scranton’s co-owner, said. “They were supposed to be there at 11, and I didn’t tell anyone but my daughter Amy (the manager of Scranton’s) and I didn’t tell her until right around 11. They walked in about 10 minutes later.”
“He’s a great guy, really laid back,” Chenoweth added. “We just talked about the Saints, and fishing and food and family. I think everyone really enjoyed it. It was real casual. They just wanted to stop in their hometown and have a bite to eat.”
Chenoweth said the group dined on Bang-Bang Shrimp and chicken gumbo among other fare, and Buffett had a turkey burger.
“We had a pretty good lunch crowd that early, and no one really realized it was him,” Chenoweth concluded. “It turned out real well.”