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In a case of life imitating art, actor and comedian Ed Helms made his way to Cornell University Saturday. Helms played Andy Bernard on NBC’s “The Office,” a proud grad of the Ivy League School. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Sarah Blazonis sat down with Helms before he addressed seniors at this year’s convocation.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Members of Cornell’s Class of 2014 say it was never a question — lifelong Big Red pride comes with the territory.
“I think it’s so tough here that it’s kind of like when you graduate, it’s like, ‘We made it,'” said Stephen Breedon, a hotel administration major who’s graduating Sunday.
“Everyone loves Cornell. You know, there are hard times, and there’s a lot of hard classes, but in the end, it’s our alma mater,” said architecture major Mary Bray Erickson.
But one of the school’s proudest alums never actually set foot on campus, until Saturday.
“I can see it in your faces: excited, full of hope, and blissfully unaware that you will be paying off high interest student loans well into your sixties,” Ed Helms told about 5,500 members of the senior class Saturday.
Students chose Helms to speak at this year’s convocation. His “Office” alter ego, Andy Bernard, took his alma mater very seriously.
And while convocation marked Helms’ first official visit to Cornell, he says in a way, it felt like a homecoming.
Lionsgate has come on to develop Epic Fail, a comedy from producer Nicky Weinstock and Ed Helms, who co-developed the original idea. Helms is now attached to star in the pic, which centers on an elite but unorthodox Special Forces team that takes their dysfunction and excessive firepower on a desperate mission to save America — led by the only soldier more badass and more mustachioed than a Navy SEAL: The Walrus.
Mike Arnold and Chris Poole will pen the screenplay. The duo has several scripts in development including the Black List script The Grackle. Weinstock is producing via his Invention Films banner along with Helms and Michael Falbo’s Pacific Electric Picture Company shingle. Invention’s Whitney Thomas will executive produce. Lionsgate’s Erik Feig, Matthew Janzen and James Myers will oversee for the studio.
Helms, Arnold and Poole are repped by CAA and Principato Young.
Actor and comedian, Ed Helms — best known for his role as passionate Cornell alumnus Andy Bernard ’95 on NBC’s The Office — will address graduating seniors at convocation this year, the Class of 2014 Convocation Committee announced Tuesday.
During his run on The Office, Helms made a name for himself as Andy Bernard, a paper salesman at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, who frequently references his time at Cornell. With lines such as “I graduated from anger management the same way I graduated from Cornell: On time,” Bernard is, perhaps, Cornell’s most famous fictional alumnus.
In addition to his role on The Office, Helms, a graduate of Oberlin College, has also starred in theHangover trilogy and served as a correspondent on The Daily Show.
Jennifer Lee ’14, chair of this year’s convocation ceremony and committee said she is thrilled with the selection of Helms as convocation speaker because he is someone “everyone in the Cornell community can connect to.”
“Ed Helms is great for our convocation because every time alumni or students watch The Office or see Andy Bernard, they are reminded of Cornell,” Lee said.
Helms — who gave the Convocation address at Knox College last year — is the first ever comedian to speak at Cornell’s Convocation ceremony. Since 2001, 10 politicians, including last year’s speaker Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), have spoken at Convocation. Lee said the Convocation Committee is excited to break this trend.