Is Hillary Really Worth $7500 a Minute? Is Anyone?


July 1, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

Hillary pointing

Sold to UNLV for $225,000, small, unmarked bills!

There’s an old saying among marketing gurus,”It’s not about how much we pay you, it’s about how much you’ll earn for us.”

At the moment, it’s not Hillary Clinton’s health, hair, pantsuits, her relationship with Monica Lewinsky (she forgives her) or even what she did or did not know about Benghazi that’s making headlines.

Nope. It’s the sweet $225,000 she’ll pocket for “gracing” the University of Nevada at Las Vegas with her presence this coming October. For about a 30 minute scheduled speech, the UNLV brain-trust figures she’s well worth the $7500 a minute fee. A number of students disagree, arguing the quarter of a million could be spent better elsewhere like in reducing the cost of attending school there.


University of Never Leave Vegas at that price!

Unlike the UNLV leadership, I’ll try and address the student concerns in just a moment.

First, while this latest flap over a paid celebrity-politician being paid a King’s ransom to speak at a campus does involve Madame Hillary Clinton, the controversy that seems to follow once the celeb has been invited is not new.

Recently, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, the former national security advisor for President George W. Bush backed out of an accepted speaking engagement (and hefty fee, reportedly $125,000) to share her pearls of wisdom with Rutgers University students. Seems a number of students, paying students, took exception to her role in sending US troops to Iraq and fearing much bad press, the VIP invite to Ms. Rice was rescinded (they say it was rescinded, she publicly withdrew her acceptance-politics, eh?).

condi rice

I’m getting instructions from Dubya now…OK, fine, I’ll just take the Dubai speaking gig instead.

Rutgers ended up having novelist Toni Morrison do the honors at a much discounted rate of $30,000, still not bad work for about 20-30 minutes. This still rankled students, faculty and employees who pointed out that the university had recently canceled all faculty promotions, froze 13,000 employee salaries and laid off seasonal workers due to “extreme fiscal crisis” on campus.

Ms. Morrison must have driven straight to the bank after sharing her words with those not trying to yell her off the stage and cashed that baby just in case.

Let’s see Eric Holder Jr., Actor James Franco, Meg Whitman, Ben Stein, and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black have all raised a stir and ultimately withdrew from university speaking invites due to political and fiscal fallout after their names were announced. Though I’ll note in the case of Mr. Black his was due more to the surfacing of a thought to be destroyed (isn’t it always the case?) gay sex tape.

dustin lance black

geez, a little gay sex tape and poof, no speaking gig!

Ok. Let’s re-focus. So, there are at least two major factors contributing to some strong blowback from students, faculty, employees and media when major celebrities/politicians start collecting checks to come and “chat” on campus.

The amount of money. Their politics.

And when it comes to Hillary she is just about at the top of the “intensity” response meter for both.

But again, is she worth it?

Well, if Hillary is the Queen of the pricey campus speech then Bill is the King. He spoke at NYU at Abu Dhabi recently and filled his coffers with a reported $300,000. In fact, between 2001-2014 it seems this is pretty much what he does for a living. He has earned $110 million dollars in speaking fees during that time though most was not at universities.

Bill clinton ice cream

I’m happier than a pig in Arkansas mud, and that $110 million buys me a lot of ice cream!

Mike Frank of Speakers Unlimited in Ohio says that universities are increasingly paying big bucks to land big celebrities to speak at their campus for prestige. “They go for the biggest celebrity they can get…they do it for the prestige, to say we had some big name as our speaker.”

A sort of “take that Harvard,” we can draw a big name too.

On the other hand, let’s get back to those students taking time out of classes and videogames to protest such ‘big name hunting” by their university brass.

They argue that, like in the case of UNLV and so many universities and colleges across America, tuition costs keep rising and job opportunities seem to keep dwindling. UNLV just prior to announcing the “Hillary invasion” also shared the news that tuition would increase 4% annually starting now and over the next 4 years.

If the University could afford to shell out $225,000 for a speech, why, students are asking, are things like research grants, cost of books, per credit hours, on campus living and even meal plans all continuing to increase while the administration says they have no choice but to increase costs to stay solvent?

students graduating

Yay for graduating, boo for graduating with a ton of debt. At least we paid all that money to Hillary.

Why indeed?

Well, the real answer is a not-so-well-kept-secret across campuses in America as well as at many non-profits not trafficking in the business of education. And that answer is fundraising.

Not your grandparents fundraising or your little league fundraising mind you. No bake sales, high school pep band car washes, candy bars in front of Wal-Mart solicitations, no t-shirts in front of the bookstore sales for $10.

No. Higher education fundraisers are increasingly being populated with professional political consultants and campaign fundraisers. And these cutthroat but successful at what they do folks, are applying their fundraising “model” from the political world to the once staid, traditional and orthodox world of academics.

Universities have eagerly entered the big-time world of high-stakes fundraising. Forget inviting some egg-head, windbag PH.D to talk about their obscure research or share their “wit” culled from decades of books and classes. Boring. Their “bla bla bla” won’t attract the big donors say these pros.

No, the modern strategic premise is basically-Pay a lot to try and get a lot more. And it goes something like this;

Attract and shell out a fortune for a celebrity like Hillary Clinton to come and chat up your campus a bit. Organize a high-profile media and marketing campaign to generate a ton of interest and put your campus in the media eye for at least a cycle or two. And then hit your wealthy alumnus. Hard. And often. And for another $500.00 a pop they can get a quick photo with Hillary. And did I mention that tickets to the pre-public speech, usually a quick “meet and greet” are “only” $2500 per? This is often followed by a VIP only brief (like 15 minutes) chat with Hillary for another $5000. A chance of a lifetime. Until the next “chance of a lifetime” speaker-event comes along. Best part? Universities sell “Memory” DVDs at $500.00 so you can “re-live” that “chance of a lifetime” event. Over and over. And then be moved to give some more.

big money

If you though higher education was all about learning then you still have much learning left to do.

So, students kick and scream and complain about tuition costs and celebrity speakers pocket huge fees.

OK. Fair enough. But universities and colleges are non-profits (excluding those for-profit online companies for a moment) so where does all the made money from a visit from say Hillary, go to?

Capital expenditures I am told. Specifically, to renovate or build new university administrative offices or even more frequently, large scale projects like new sports stadiums and athletic facilities.

You with the Science book, glasses and dreams of a research grant, how about 2 tickets on the 50 yard-line instead?

Look, I exaggerate only a bit to raise what is I think, a reasonable concern.

Many years ago, one of my graduate schools I attended (American University, Washington DC, got my Masters there) invited then president John F. Kennedy to speak at one of its graduation ceremonies. He surprised them by saying yes and then pleasantly shocked them when he chose that forum to unveil a new foreign policy shift towards Eastern Europe. He said new minds with fresh ideas should hear such things first. He was free, as are all sitting presidents.

AU still brags about this speech and uses it as a selling and fundraising tool to its alumni and to prospective students. They truly got their “free monies” worth.

Will UNLV get their monies worth for Hillary come this October?

Will its students?






51 thoughts on “Is Hillary Really Worth $7500 a Minute? Is Anyone?

  1. Erica T-F says:

    Wow, I do agree with both students and staff being upset about the hefty price tag for Hillary Clinton’s speaking engagement. The school shells out $225,000 for the speaker; in addition to all the amenities to get the school ready for the visit (you know they have to clean up around the campus, do landscaping, steam floors, etc…anything to spruce up the campus and the site where the speaker will speak) and that will probably cost another $100-150,000 with a total price tag of about $325-400,000. A lot of times, the speaker requires the establishment to pay for travel costs also, not sure in this instance. I would really be curious if the school actually makes that money back after the event is over from the photo ops, extra requests for donations, sit down dinners, etc. Although Hillary is a remarkable speaker, I would even think she would feel a little guilty about collecting such a hefty fee and taking valuable money that is used for educating students (but I am sure dollar signs before emotions) and when you consider how much money she already has, she truly does not need to charge such a hefty amount. I would also be curious if she has a set amount of speaking engagements she does for no charge.

    • Taton T says:

      Erica, not to devalue your curiosity at all because it is an interesting point, but who cares what the extras are. Whether she is the next President or not, or regardless of our partisan views, is any person worth that much? They should be doing a service. AND if she is running for President…Could this just be adding to her pocket of a basically a school donating, when in just 12 months she will be talking about giving to these kids and the schools?

  2. Trey H says:

    Universities need to re-focus on priorities. It’s not that Hillary isn’t a good speaker, that’s up for debate, it’s that she’s running for office (let’s face it, she’s trying to raise gobs of cash for a prez run) and UNLV is basically contributing to her campaign. At the expense of its students. Meanwhile, my daughter who’s at a state university (UVA) tells me that tuition will rise again next year. One of her textbooks cost $135 and it was paperback. No joke. How about the university subsidizing student books for a year or so with the money saved? IDK, $225,000 for a “speech” seems obscene.

    • Taton T says:

      Wow. Right on man. Our books are too much and who cares if she is Jesus Christ himself! 225,000 for 30 minutes? GEEZ!! It is ridiculous to think that a university would think this is a good investment.

  3. Jacqueline B says:

    Trey-It is obscene! I don’t care who it is, universities as non-profits should be less concerned about raising tons of money to pay for fancier offices for its president and more about students. They are always crying poverty and screwing students over with every fee (can we talk parking on any US campus?) imaginable and then gushing over celebrities and politicians and paying a ransom as Dr. R says so they can speak. What a crock!

  4. Brad M says:

    Maybe Hillary will tell all the students to look the other way when their spouse cheats (constantly) on them, especially if it means one day you’ll have a better political career yourself. Just saying.

  5. Taton T says:

    I am furious at this…I posted in a comment, but we all assume she is running for President. Who cares if she is or isnt, but in 12 months she will be singing a different tune that we need to give more money to education and we are not doing enough, and Republicans have shut down education blah blah blah. HOWEVER…she finds it valid to accept or even ask for $225,000. This is in Nevada. How many of the students even support Hillary Clinton? I dont know the answer to that, but may be interesting to find out.
    If this does not ruffle your feathers regardless of your partisanship then I dont understand what will. I respect you getting paid and being worth what someone will pay you. However, the fact is she will turn around and change the scenery as soon as she is doing for Ready for Hillary stuff in 16. It is pure madness.

  6. Julie M says:

    In reading this post, it almost seems that the role of the students and educators at universities has taken a back seat to the role of the university leadership being able to land speakers, gain alumni contributions, build stadiums and invest in athletes- and in major federal grants/research- in competition with other universities. Does this attract new students, or only old money? That the use of political consultants to generate interest on the part of alumni, and the use of speakers like Hilary Rodham Clinton to capitalize on that investment, almost seems to create a race to the top among universities that neglects the purpose of higher education. Whether those speaking fees are paid by university foundations, and thereby not coming out of university operating funds, may be a much smaller point than that of the system being off kilter in the focus of university leaders which is now on publicity and competition, rather than on students and faculty. I also wonder what the role of foreign contributions given by the families of foreign students may be in this situation. This was a very eye-opening analysis of the situation.

  7. Anya C says:

    I understand the students and staff positions completely. I am a teacher in a public school and it is amazing how the funds seem to magically appear for guest speakers and other expenditures but can cut teachers and supplies for students. I do not agree that these speakers should be paid that amount of money, but there are plenty of people who get paid for the smallest things while others are doing the hard work and trying to make it. This post was eye opening.

    • Sherry B says:

      You made a very valuable point on how guest speakers bring in funds but they should be used in a better way than what there currently being used. Great post.

  8. Amber K says:

    When universities try and justify shelling out a quarter of a million for a speech it is pathetic. On the other hand if they’d just be honest and say it’s for fundraising as Dr. R describes and leave it at that and don’t try and pretend it’s to inspire students…in this case, UNLV is basically just giving Hillary a campaign donation. What a joke!

  9. Letitia K says:

    Hillary should take the money and then set up a scholarship fund with it…for once don’t be like every other greedy politician!

  10. Sedric C says:

    I don’t think the protesting is all about the money issues. Student and citizens are just frustrated with our government and politician. Every time you turn the news on federal, state and local government are cutting and laying people off, but then turn right around and give someone $225,000.00 to speak. Our citizens are just frustrated with gridlock. They want to see our government work. I think our nation will have to continue putting up with this until the next Presidential election. The majority of citizens don’t know how budgets work; they just go by what’s on the news.

  11. Rebecca L says:

    She is charging what the market will bear. If someone offered me $225K to come speak, I would take it. If anyone’s buying, I could also be had for $22.5K, or $2,250, or even $225 if the topic is right. You could not buy me for $22.50, so yeah, I’ve got some pride.

    • Selenseia says:

      You make a very good point; not many (if any) of us would turn down that amount of money for a speaking engagement. I do feel the students pain though and complete understand their gripe.

  12. Patricia B says:

    First, like it or not, if the market will pay it, can you really blame Clinton for taking it? That’s what our free market is about.

    Second, if this fee is being paid by the UNLV Foundation and their donors don’t agree with it, there will be a backlash from the donors and donations to the foundation will drop – again the “market” will correct the situation if those in the “market” don’t like it.

    Third, the students have every right to protest if they don’t like it – that’s a matter of freedom of speech – but I doubt it will change anything. The “powers that be” have their own agenda in bringing in a graduation speaker like Clinton or any other major public figure and it has absolutely nothing to do with the students who usually pay little attention to the speaker anyway. (I sit through graduations every May, August and December and watch the students text, play games on their cellphones, take selfies with their friends – everything but listen to the speakers.)

    Finally, our culture has created this climate where “motivational speakers” are rewarded handsomely for standing up and telling us what most of us already know. Until we break this socially accepted cycle of needing someone else to tell us how to live our lives, until we find our way back to raising self-confident, self-motivated, self-controlled citizens who do not need to rely on “motivational speakers”, we can expect this cycle of exorbitant fees to continue.

    • Felicia J says:

      Pat, you are right, I don’t blame Hillary for pocketing the cash, but for the powers that be for paying in the first place. Maybe, as Dr. R points out, it will help their fundraising, maybe their reputation, maybe the funds will actually help students, but those are a lot of maybes, right? Maybe any money off the back of Hillary will go to some slush fund who knows? But blame Hillary for doing what any politician would do, nah, Governor Christie wishes someone would pay him that much to speak!

  13. Beverly H says:

    Rachel-Don’t let Hillary off the hook so easily…she doesn’t have to “take” the 225K as someone else suggested she could at least look like something other than a typical, money-grubbing politician raking money from a supposed non-profit…When she’s in full campaign mode she’ll be talking about education and how we must do more, etc, etc, well, how about she start with herself for a change?

  14. Paula W says:

    Pat-It’s not just that “kids” don’t care or would rather text (tho they would) it’s also as Dr. R suggests, the “speaker” isn’t really there for the students, they are there for fundraising purposes, of which many students will never actually reap the benefits…so, let’s see, they aren’t listened to, they aren’t the real target audience, and the money goes elsewhere than what would benefit them, why should they give 2 hoots about what Hillary the politician says??

    • Rebecca L says:


      I’m not sure that’s 100% accurate. The goal of these speakers is to increase the reputation of the institution (which makes the students’ degrees more valued) and to bring donations that are then turned into benefits for the campus. New student centers, better research facilities, an improved health clinic, remodeled dorms, world-class scholars in the classroom…things like this are purchased with foundation dollars and are real, tangible benefits to the student. The salary is exorbitant, but the means to the end does bring great value to the student.

      • Paula says:

        Boy, Rebecca, you sound like you are in academics for a living! because what I have read the big money that may (may!) come from paying pols like Hillary a queen’s ransom also goes not to things that as you say are of great benefit to students but to alumni centers, booster parties and benefits and perks for football recruits and just read where U-TX spent thousands on a yacht party for their president and VIP friends which may never turn into donations for students like remodeled dorms. Are you kidding me? You are dreaming if you think all the $ actually go back to help the students into “world scholars”…It’s a thinly disguised campaign donation to Hillary the politician, who i’m guessing you probably support!

      • Tanya L says:

        Paula-Well, I actually do work in academics and Rebecca and Pat are spot on-Some, maybe not all, of the money raised from celebs like Hillary do help students. The real issue as I see it here and what should be of most concern are the yacht parties that probably never help students or just the fact that it sure looks like the students, the real consumers, aren’t being listened to. Nice lesson, huh?

  15. Kerry M says:

    Hey, I’m no Hillary fan, she’s only been at best “adequate-mediocre” in any of her positions in public office, but I guess to so many Liberal women she’s like their God or something, so I get that, but heck, if UNLV is stupid enough to throw cash her way why not come and talk about how her husband cheated on her and how she was asleep at the wheel at Behghazi and how she wants to be prez?

  16. cynthia h says:

    At first, I’m seeing the headline for this and thinking how ridiculous it is that Hillary be paid such a large figure for speaking. Then, I take in the first comment and it makes sense….at least a little. The school likely views it as an investment. It’s nothing new. Celebs get paid well to endorse products and to participate in ads. Slapping Ellen on a Cover Girl advertisement apparently draws in consumers. Having a popular politician speak on campus likely escalates enrollment. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s nothing new and apparently works. However, in this case, the student body and faculty have ill feelings… they should. It comes in sour when there are tution hikes, pay freezes, and then an offer to pay such a ranson for a simple speech. Additionally, Ms. Clinton should consider (oh, I’m sure she and others have already) the negativity surrounding this issue. Will she possibly offer to accept less? Will she simply decline? Honestly, at this point, I’m curious as to what her actions will be.

  17. Lisa S says:

    I can hardly contain my shock from reading this post, $225,000…. really. I am not sure if I am more outraged by the amount she is being offered or the political chess game that is being played with the lives of college students. If you have the means to spend $5000.00 to take a picture with a celebrity or politician, why not just give that money to your alma mater. I would then question if someone that would pay for the picture just want the bragging rights to say they have given, but not for the reason of assisting a nonprofit in providing a college education. I recall in 2011, when Snooki, someone known for lewd behavior was paid $32,000 to speak at Rutgers University. What could she have possibly had to say? Leading me to address the question of, is it worth it? Will Hillary Clinton say something so profound to justify the $225,000 payout? In my opinion, the answer is, NO. In 1963, we did not live in the age of social media, cable television, or smart phones. Therefore, the chances of JFK announcing something profound that would take a while to circulate the nation, is likely. JFK’s appearance may have been worth the equivalent of $225K in 1963. With all those avenues, social media, cable television, smart phones, and my favorite, Skype, I just do not feel that she will say something so profound that is not already circulating around in some form of media today. There are scholars outside of politicians and celebrities that are making profound changes in our world that could contribute to the minds of college students that will never be heard by fresh minds because they do not fit in the political scheme of things. Seems there is little to do with student success, when preparing for guest speakers. Well I guess we will see what Mrs. Clinton has to say when someone posts her speech on YouTube.

  18. Elisa H says:

    I am an exchange student in Budapest but am from the US and I love this blog and the commentators-There is much corruption here and money to big speakers never seems to go for students, my friends here say there is much money but not for students they are like the last to get any bread…Hillary, I say grab the cash, why not?

  19. Barry P says:

    All I know is that all those of you that seem so sure the $225K will somehow come back to benefit students well, I’m not convinced. And to those who begrudge HC for grabbing the cash, hey, you’d all grab it too if it was on the table. But really, when I see the amount of loans and debt I have as I finish my own schooling at UF all I see is universities like UNLV and my own rushing to throw cash at speakers and in the same breath telling us how cash-strapped they are and our tuition must rise (again!). Honestly, I see nothing but crooks, the Univs. for giving away cash that we could use and the typical, greedy pols like Hillary for scooping it up and who I am sure will be telling us all soon how we don’t give enough for education, bla bla bla, hypocritical, all of them-

  20. Car-ra Brimley says:

    $7,500 a minute is beyond absurd. I don’t think any college should utilize its funds in that manner, especially since it is just a speech and other needs are going unmet. I definitely think this issue centers around the amount of money being spent and the politics involved. Another issue is intent. What is the college/university’s desired outcome from these “speaking” events, more so, what is the learning objective being met. If Hillary were providing some type of interactive lecture or maybe even attending a political science class and interacting with the students scheduled learning based off of her experience, for more than a thirty minute period, then I possibly could justify paying a monetary fee; however, if I was in charge of the well-being and finances for a university I would decline to spend that money regardless of the publicity it may or may not bring. I believe if someone truly is of such high prestige than they should be honored to speak to students. I know time is money, so pay for their travel, meals, hotel, and provide a smaller token of appreciation, but do not spend 2 semesters worth of tuition (at least at Valdosta, I know it’s much more at other colleges) per minute on one person.

  21. Ashley G says:

    I cannot believe a college would pay so much for a speaker and I do not think that it is right especially being that you have students who probably couldn’t attend because they didn’t have aid to pay for their classes. This really bothers me for someone who also works at a University because we take cuts and do not receive pay raises or even other incentives. Schools are starting to focus on the wrong things. For Hillary its an easy way to make cash and not have to work hard and not be in the lime light of an issue going on within the world.

  22. Selenseia says:

    Is anyone worth $7,500.00 a minute? Probably not. For a speaking engagement, definitely not. I understand why it is often done though. The saying “you have to spend money to make money” is true. But why so much money? I was upset when my university spent quite a few thousand to bring a celebrity to campus for a scholarship fundraiser. I was a part of the committee that brought him to campus, and no one could explain to me why we would do that rather than just endow the scholarship with the funds we were spending. What I said did not matter; he came, the students actually enjoyed themselves, and the university is still pulling in alumni donations because of the celebrity speaker. So if you were to speak with university administrators, they would tell you that is why they spend the funds. It is an investment in the university. However, I understand the students concerns. Couldn’t a celebrity with a lighter price tag be brought to campus in an effort to generate funds? Knowing a university is spending $225,000 on a speaker, and your tuition is increasing because of cutbacks and other issues is a hard pill to swallow. It is wonderful when new buildings go up on a campus, but if enrollment continues to decline because of increased fees and tuition, how many will actually benefit from the new buildings? Spending so much on a speaker, Hillary Clinton or otherwise, is crazy.

  23. Rachel B. says:

    In my job I have had the opportunity to see what goes into trying to get big name speakers/acts for events. I know some of the crazy stuff they put into contracts and how they can be worked around. I also know that in some instances, funds are designated for large events. For example, the University I work at designates a portion of student activity fees for a major campus event. It is a small amount in comparison to the overall funding that is divvied out and it generally goes to helping bring someone to campus for the students. It has been a musical act in the past, or a comedian, or a speaker. I’m not saying I agree with spending over $200,000 so someone can come speak at a school. If I were still in undergrad paying increasing tuition rates and found out my school was doing it I would have been livid. The thing is now that I am on the other side of it, and I see all the rules associated with funds and how they can be spent I can understand it happening. It’s a cycle. The bigger the event, or prestige of the school, the greater likelihood for a famous person to come for an event. The bigger names that are brought in the more prestigious the school looks. I will also say seeing some of the inner workings of development (fundraising) on campuses I am blown away by it all. Some people designate gifts for specific things like supplying meal plan scholarships, or stocking a food pantry. It’s great that they gave $10,000 but it has rules attached to it. Students don’t see the rules they just see the funds. I didn’t see the rules until I became an accountant and had to deal with finances and the way they were being spent. I understand students being upset with their tuition increasing while the school wants to dish out nearly half a million dollars for 30 minutes of someone’s time, but I would bet the funds are different and are regulated differently. Even still, do I think Hillary Clinton is worth $225,000? That is a NO!

    • Years ago I worked at a large university theater, part of my job was working in the “green room” for celebrities and artists. The great violinists Itzhak Perlman would not, and I mean would not go on stage unless he had not 1 but 2 “Mars Bars.” Who eats Mars Bars right? We tried Milky Way, nope. Literally 3 minutes before curtain call we managed to find them at a near-by 7-11. Later, I found out that yes, his agent had written it into his contract. Liza Minnelli? Absolutely no white flowers of any kind in her dressing room, nor in any place on her sight line. I actually had to pull a white rose off of a VIP’s tux who was in the first row just as she started her act. He was not pleased but later thankfully understood and got a backstage pass for his trouble sans flower in his lapel!

      • Rebecca L says:

        Oh hey, if we want to get into idiosyncrasies of performers… The great soprano Kathleen Battle once forced the George V to rearrange several guests so that she could get into a room with wallpaper that pleased her. Apparently the pattern in the original room was agitating. One time she flew to LAX from LGA and the poor limo driver first erred by parking too far from the curb, forcing Ms. Battle to step onto the street and then into the limo. Ms. Battle was angered that she could not move directly from sidewalk to limo. In the back of the same limo, Kathy was cold. So she phoned her agent in NYNY, told him it was too cold in the car and fix it. So, the agent called the limo company who then radio’d the driver and said, “Ms. Battle requests that you turn down the air conditioning.” (All documented stories!)

        I was at a concert once, and the pianist didn’t like the bench. What followed was absolutely hysterical. People went flying into the wings and brought out 4 or 5 different seating options for him to try. He sat on each one, like baby bear “this one is too soft; this one is too hard; this one is too tall; this one is too short; Ahhhh Just right.” After his tukus was pleased, the dude played an amazing program!!!

        And one final….when the Olympics were in ATL, Jessye Norman, the great soprano from Augusta, sang with both the ASO and the now defunct Savannah Symphony. We went to the program in Savannah. It was summer…in Savannah. Hotter than blazes. The theatre was ROASTING. Before the performance, the symphony manager came out and announced that he new it was warm, but Ms. Norman required that the air conditioner be turned off. !!!! So we all sat there and both basked and baked in the wonderful program.

  24. Andrew N says:

    You can’t blame Hillary Clinton for accepting $7,500 per minute to speak at a university. Not that I am anyone famous, but I wouldn’t turn away that kind of money if someone was paying me to talk about something for thirty minutes. What you can blame is the university allowing that kind of money to be spent in times where tuition, books, meal plans, and other academic expenses are going up. If I were a student at UNLV I would be up in arms as well. It would be like a slap in the face to the students who pay money to learn at your institution and be told their fees will be rising because the school has no money, yet they shell out $250,000 for a guest speaker.

    I am not sure if any research has been done on whether or not having a high paying speaker actually does anything for a university’s reputation in terms of outside support, but it would be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton’s voice and appearance on campus actually generates any additional revenue for the school. If the school is able to generate money, certainly more than the $250,000 plus they shell out for Hillary speaking, then they should not be raising student fees unless there is a large benefit that nobody knows about.

    If the money comes from the school’s alumni foundation and not from the school’s operating budget, then the issue is not as big of a deal because it could attract more alumni support if people are willing to pay $500 a pop to get a photo of themselves with her-that could add up quickly. Usually at events like these there are fees to attend, to get a quick photo, to speak one on one, have dinner with the speaker, etc., and they can draw huge sums of money. If the school is investing the money back into the school from guest speaker profits, it might not be as bad of a situation despite other costs going up. As long as the pros outweigh the cons, it could make it worth the overall cost of the speaker.

  25. Francis K says:

    Is she worth it? NO. but then teams are racing to pat Carmelo Anthony close to a quarter of a billion dollars while many teachers have to beg for crayons and scissors for their classrooms…we have our priorities out of whack.

  26. Luke E says:

    Political affiliations aside, I don’t think anyone is worth $7,500.00 a minute. Unless you are being framed for a heinous crime that you didn’t commit, and the only way you can prove your innocence is by hiring a really amazing, expensive lawyer. I can see both sides of the issue. However, I tend to side with the university’s on this one. I totally empathize for a student who feels they are being nickeled and dimed at every corner, and annually witnesses an increase in educational costs. The fact is publicly subsided institutions are having to rely more on tuition and fees than government subsidies that are continuously decreased for one reason or another. There is no way a quarter million dollars will offset tuition or fees in a meaningful way. Furthermore, if the funds are being fronted by the foundation, the students opposition is less warranted. I say that because the foundation’s main job is to ensure endowments are up. These students are in college. The administration can clearly explain their motives in an effort to help the students build a bridge. On a side note, I’m sure the UNLV’s athletic department is loving this. Too bad the heat will shift back to them after Hillary leaves. The students may complain about this situation today, but they would really go off if scholarships were cut.

  27. Rebecca Kiel says:

    I agree with most of the comments…of course that is an outrageous amount and if it were my school I would have a problem with that. I am positive there are large amounts of money being spent on things in the university I work for that I would not agree with, but there are others that I do find to be a good investment. Who knows what amount is spend on recruiting some of the heads of various colleges and departments, while when they take the position get paid exorbitant amounts to be a figure head with a good business background. The other side of this is that in order to maintain a certain status as a research university or stay in the competitive market that is college these days they have to invest in certain ways that may seem irresponsible. Sometimes spending money on figure heads, speeches, and coaches bring in support from the community and alumni that may have gone away otherwise. What if by having some big name author give a speech, more people with the funds want to send their kids there which then offsets costs for others or even motivates people set up scholarships. This situation is different because it does have a political background and can be analyzed further than other types of scholarly activities.

  28. Brandi S says:

    To me it does not matter who a person is no one should not be given this amount of money just to make an apperance, especially not at a university. I am a student myself and I would be just as upset with this if she was coming to my school. All of the struggling students around the country and this particular school is willing to pay her ridiculous amount of money to come show her face and speak for thirty minutes. If I was a student there I would protest because those hard
    earned dollars can be made into scholarships or something to help the students while they attend their college. The crazy thing about it thought the school will get Hiliary to come and do her speak and then raise school tuition to help replace the money that was used. Either way this is a bad idea to me because it will potentially hurt the students of that school.

  29. Jacki G says:

    I agree with Brandi above. It doesn’t matter who you are, this kind of money is ridiculous. And to accept this kind of money I think it is incredibly selfish. There are children starving everywhere, homeless people walking the streets, and people can accept this kind of money for a 30 minute appearance.

    Part of the blog mentions how funding these appearance generates revenues in other ways. I doubt that it is likely that these costly appearances always pay for themselves. And when they do make a profit, they go to funding, Dr. R. states “Capital expenditures I am told. Specifically, to renovate or build new university administrative offices or even more frequently, large scale projects like new sports stadiums and athletic facilities.” Huh? To me, this is another example of American’s consumerism obsessed culture. Instead of lowering tuition rates and the cost of books so that college is more affordable and students incur less debt, we renovate buildings and fund sports events (which according to another one of Dr. R.’s blogs aren’t very profitable themselves). I think that I can learn just as well in a dingy classroom with older desks as a can in one with bright and shiny new floors and new desks. I think we need to reevaluate our priorities and what really matters when we are deciding how to spend profits. Especially in schools. I constantly hear from both political parties that education is so important. Without a doubt it is, but if we are going to invest in education that doesn’t mean investing in the buildings (unless they are in dire need of renovation of course) for showy purposes, it means investing in the students and striving to see that they have a quality education at an affordable price.

  30. Shannon V says:

    As a student, I share the same reaction as those students of UNLV. The cost of obtaining an education has become almost unmanageable for the common majority, so the notion that a $225k price tag is being offered to anyone for 30 minutes (regardless of whether it is Hilary or not) is quite upsetting. While I understand it takes money to make money, I have to ask what message is this sending to students in terms of where the focus lies? I can’t fault Hilary for contracting for the engagement – business is business, and it’s what the marketplace is willing to pay. I still believe, though, that something of that magnitude ($225k) really should have student buy-in, because without it, you’re just asking for student backlash. I’d have a hard time being part of a university environment if I didn’t agree with the priorities of the school.

  31. taylor d says:

    One would think that these top political figures would want to share their knowledge with university students for a cheaper price to buy the good grace of the voting public. I do not see an issue with these individuals wanting to charge to speak at corporate events or other events similar to that but when speaking to the youth of the nation it would seem more appropriate to want to way the standard fee for a lesser one in order to appeal to the masses.

  32. Dylan G says:

    Wow, $225,000 for a 30 minute speech. I guess I should have considered a different career out of college. I get that the university and trying to piggy back fund raising off this investment, but seems a bit extreme to me. As a former student who struggled financially through college I just don’t get the approach. Times are tough and shelling out that kind of cash for a 30 minute speech is a slap in the face to many students who are having a hard time paying for tuition and books. As an employee of the university system in Georgia, I have witnessed first hand the amount of cutbacks pushed down during this economic time. To see coworkers struggle to pay their bills while reading about these absurd speaking fees just angers me. Hillary should be setting a better example to the constituents as well. To get on the podium and talk about caring for education and charging this much money to talk to the students is ridiculous.

  33. Sherry B says:

    It’s so sad that society has become so materialistic and every service is offered at a price. No longer do people do things free of charge. Considering that she’s already wealthy and a public figure, one would think that she would give back by not charging for the 30 minute speech. If the school has that kind of money to spend on a public speaking engagement than they should be also allocating raises to staff members who are in need of a pay increase to provide for their families.

  34. Kristin B says:

    I do not think that having anyone is worth coming and speaking to college student worth $7,500 a minute. I think that it is money that should be spent in other places. I would be very upset if VSU spent that kind of money on anyone. That money should help students get their tuition lowered if they are willing to spend this kind of money on a speaker.

  35. Charles H says:

    I can’t really fault her for taking the quarter million for a 30 minute speech. I think any one of us would take that opportunity if it were available. A good comic sells out 4,000 seat auditoriums at $50 a ticket with is basically him speaking for $200k, and we don’t criticize that. I get it, it looks bad, really bad for schools who admit fiscal hardship which justifies cost cutting, wage freezes and tuition hikes, but I’m also sure that those facts on the surface don’t adequately explain the entire story and how it has come to pass. I’m not defending, just playing a little devil’s advocate. I too think its overrated and overpaid.

  36. John C says:

    As a professional educator I think I can speak to this issue with some knowledge. Universities are in a Catch 22 these days over many things. If we don’t have prestigious speakers come to campus then many will criticize us for not being prestigious enough. If we do spend the money required to attract top-named speakers then another set of critics will pounce on the wasteful spending of the administration. I do wonder, was there a dinner or pre or post-function event with the former Secretary of State that might have raised enough cash to off-set her fee? Often this is the case and often many people are not aware because of the exclusive nature of an event like that. I know that at my university, a big name speaker is coming to campus this fall and a pre-event dinner has raised enough money to pay for the speakers fees and there is enough left over to make donation to a worthy campus project.

  37. Tinisha. S says:

    No one in my opinion is worth $7,500.00 a minute to speak at a conference. I feel those funds could be contributed towards a more feasible cause. I do encourage that university should provide speakers for the students, but at a more reasonable cost. I do support that speakers should be compensated however, the goal should be to uplift and educate students as the end result.

  38. Matt R says:

    $7,500 dollars a minute to be fed a bunch of lies? If the UNLV wanted to be fed a bunch of lies, they could have simply watched Hillary on TV for free. I don’t think, no, I KNOW for a FACT that Hillary isn’t even worth one single cent because I’ve watched her. If you haven’t watched any of her speeches, get on youtube and watch them. Watch her hearing on the Benghazi attacked and how she made a BIG verbal mistake, citing the attack as “our attack on Benghazi” and then VERY quickly switching the wording to “the attack on Benghazi.” I don’t think any other PREPARED person, especially one who was reading word for word off a piece of paper as Hillary always does (which someone else writes for her) would make THAT kind of verbal error. Not to mention that she deleted thousands of emails about the Benghazi attacks. Lies, lies, and more lies. Her name is Hil-Lie-ry Clinton after all. Watch any of her speeches on youtube and you’ll clearly see what I mean. She cannot speak more than 3 or 4 words without glancing at her paper. Why? Because she wants to make sure she keeps the lies on track. I think UNLV wasted a LOT of money on this little venture. For that money, they could have awarded a scholarship or something to a deserving student or made improvements to the school itself. That money was most definitely wasted in my opinion.

  39. valdostaphil says:


    Okay, I’ll admit this creates bad optics to the casual observer. But upping a school’s profile is a valid concern in a competitive world. UNLV had total revenues of almost $270 million in FY2014. ( $83 million of that was registration fees. Hilary’s speaking fee is 3 tenths of one percent of the tuition revenue, or .003 or 0.3%. And it’s such a small percentage of their total revenue that Windows’ calc.exe gave me some kind of weird scientific notation for an answer and I’m too lazy to decipher it (for these purposes at least). Her speaking fee is literally just a drop in the bucket for an institution of that size.

    It has to be put in perspective. If making UNLV a bigger deal and raking in millions in donations for the endowment is the result of this, then the Board is not going to oust the President of the University or anything like that. This can be seen as an investment rather than an expense. And for that matter, it could have been paid for using earmarked donations instead of the general fund (I don’t know this to be the case, but it could be). Bad optics, sure, but bad decision-making? Not necessarily. Potentially justifiable. Depends on how it was carried out and what it yields. But I would need the whole picture before casting judgment.

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