Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Power to choose speakers

Been on vacation. Was nice.

The year's science speaker series has been just released. Every year we have a special speaker on a Saturday morning for Homecoming festivities, and my colleague who sets up the series tries to find the best speaker for this day.

Because of its prominence, the Donor Relations department has been weighing in on choosing the Homecoming speaker lately. In a heavy-handed way sometimes, I hear. The speaker used to be an alum or alumna of whom we were particularly proud, now this person is a potential donor. Sometimes the two overlap, of course, but sometimes they do not. We had a Donor-Relations-pushed speaker a few years back that gave a really terrible talk. I think the department now eyes suspiciously the speakers that DR suggests, but we are pretty much powerless in the decision-making process.


  1. Since you work in a religious school, have you ever had problems because of the speaker ideas? I work at a liberal religious institution, but I know there have been problems and tensions in the past when choosing the commencement speaker.

  2. Not that I'm aware of. I know that there is a controversial donor, but that person/family/company doesn't do science, so would not be invited to our science speaker seminar.