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OSU commencement speaker Chris Pan was on ayahuasca when he wrote cringe-worthy speech

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OSU commencement speaker Chris Pan was on ayahuasca when he wrote cringe-worthy speech



College grads weren’t high on this hallucinogenic-fueled speech.

Ohio State University’s commencement speaker gave a cringe-worthy speech to graduates Sunday that included peddling Bitcoin to a round of jeers and leading the crowd in two awkward, off-key sing-alongs — thanks in part of “help from AI (Ayahuasca Intelligence).”

Social entrepreneur, investor and alum Chris Pan gave more than 12,000 students and their families and friends a keynote address that was as unusual as it was memorable — that he later admitted was written with the help of a psychedelic.

Commencement address speaker Chris Pan, founder of MyIntent, provided grads with a speech to remember on Sunday. Doral Chenoweth/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The roughly 17-minute speech started out mundane enough until he encouraged grads to get up.

“I’d like to get started by moving our energy, getting our energy flowing,” said Pan, who graduated from OSU in 1999. “So if you’re able to, please stand and follow my movement.”

Pan then proceeded to lead the audience in singing part of the 1993 song, “What’s Up,” by 4 Non Blondes, with had school leaders and faculty behind him swaying and waving their arms.

He subsequently led grads in a breathing exercise that is used by Navy SEALs to remain calm in stressful situations — perhaps to prepare them for some of the grim financial situations they might soon face in the real world.

It was a perfect segue for Pan to talk up cryptocurrency.

“So I know this might feel polarizing, but I encourage you to keep an open mind right now. I see Bitcoin as a very misunderstood asset class,” Pan said, which led to a chorus of boos.

More than 12,000 OSU students graduated on Sunday. Doral Chenoweth/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Pan attempted to work through notable jeers before he deployed a magic trick with the help of OSU president Walter E. Carter Jr.

The 64-year-old college big wig blew on some quarters in a little black bag that Pan turned into a Bitcoin.

“I learned the magic trick last week just to be able to have this moment,” Pan gleefully admitted. “Thank you for that.”

He later promised free bracelets to everyone in the crowd “as an apology for listening to me talk about Bitcoin.”

Pan later led the Class of 2024 into another musical number, “This Little Light of Mine” after he talked about how young adults can heal divisions in the world.

Part of the oddities in Pan’s speech might have been traced back to what he used to help him write it up.

The speech was filled with awkward moments, including a reference to Bitcoin. Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Pan said in a LinkedIn post cited by the Columbus Dispatch that before Sunday that he wrote it while on ayahuasca, which is a plant-based psychedelic from South America, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation based in Australia.

“Got some help from AI (Ayahuasca Intelligence) this week to write my commencement speech for 60k grads and family members at Ohio State University next Sunday,” he wrote in the post. “We are in challenging times – wanted something extra heartfelt. (Tried chatGPT but wasn’t that good).”

Pan graduated from Ohio State in 1999 and got his master’s degree at Harvard Business School. He’s the founder of MyIntent.org, whose mission is to facilitate “meaningful conversations and positive energy,” according to his LinkedIn.

It also sells custom-made jewelry, though on its website it says, “We are not a jewelry company – we are a service project.”

An Ohio State spokesperson declined to comment on the Bitcoin reference when contacted by WCMH, but made clear the university does not approve speaker’s speeches before the ceremony.

In a press release about the keynote address by the school, it shied away from the more bizarre moments with a headline, “Ohio State alum Chris Pan encouraged graduates to set sights on making a difference.”




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