Why must colleges look so far afield for commencement speakers? [Letter]

May 28, 2014

Regarding Susan Reimer's recent column on rejected commencement speakers, what seems hard to understand is why the school committees that choose commencement speakers seem unable to find anyone on their own campuses who might have a modicum of wisdom to impart to graduates ("It's speech season on campus — and it's notable for ones not given," May 21).

That such committees have to shop beyond their college gates to find inspiration seems to indicate either the committees' lack of imagination and rigor or their campuses' complete lack of a stimulating faculty. Or maybe they need to one-up the commencement speaker on the campus down the street.

Moreover, to have to pay so exorbitantly for a high-profile speaker perpetuates the unwise financial excesses of universities at a time when student tuition is also excessively high.

I believe there must be any number of inspiring faculty members or alumni who would not only offer much more than the usual commencement-talk platitudes but would also offer some shared experiences with graduates because of having spent time on the same campus.

Don Fusting

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