The Perils of Picking a Commencement Speaker

Chronicle of Higher Education - At least one university leader shares that view and hopes that Rutgers’s loss will be his institution’s gain. Just two days after Ms. Rice said that she would bow out of speaking at Rutgers so that she wouldn’t be a 'distraction' at the ceremony, the chancellor of Texas Tech University, Kent R. Hance, sent her an invitation to speak at one of three graduation ceremonies coming up there over the next year. The first opportunity would be on August 9 at the university's summer commencement.

Picking a commencement speaker can be fraught with uncertainty. Colleges and universities want stimulating figures who will challenge and inspire graduates, but too controversial a choice can draw an immediate backlash from students, faculty members, and others in the community.

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At least one university leader shares that view and hopes that Rutgers’s loss will be his institution’s gain. Just two days after Ms. Rice said that she would bow out of speaking at Rutgers so that she wouldn’t be a "distraction" at the ceremony, the chancellor of Texas Tech University, Kent R. Hance, sent her an invitation to speak at one of three graduation ceremonies coming up there over the next year. The first opportunity would be on August 9 at the university's summer commencement.

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