Phi Beta Cons

‘Speaker-gate’ — Wasting Donor Money, Part II

As if a conference table costing a quarter million dollars was not enough, Kean University also managed – along with Rutgers – to squander even more donor money, this time on commencement speakers. Details are contained in a Philadelphia Inquirer article

For its part, Rutgers spent $35,000 to have its graduates hear whatever words of wisdom journalist Bill Moyers chose to offer, saying that the generous stipends are “needed to attract high profile speakers.” They don’t say why this is necessary, though. The students are going to show up for their diplomas regardless, and the beaming parents will certainly be in attendance — no matter who the speaker is, or even if there isn’t one (which was always my preference, having sat through numerous such ceremonies).

For its part, Kean partnered with two student governance groups to pay $40,000 to Brandon Stanton, who is noted for his “Humans of New York”project. As best I can tell, this involves his taking 10,000 photos of random New York City residents for a reason that I guess has something to do with art. For the graduate school commencement, an additional $40,000 was paid to astronaut Mark Kelly, who is certainly quite accomplished but also currently working at NASA, funded by the taxpayers.

Kean University says that its speakers deliver “unforgettable commencement addresses.” Quick, anybody over 30 years old, what did your commencement speaker say?

Vic Brown — Vic Brown had a thirty-year career in the chemical industry with FMC Corporation, where he held senior positions and worked internationally in sales, marketing, manufacturing, information technology and procurement.

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