CEO Condemns Celebrities Cashing in on the Six-Figure Commencement Speech (Video)

Graduation season comes with commencenment speeches, which tend to carry a high price tag. But is the celebrity commencement speech—often costing over six figures—the best use of university funds?

LexION Capital CEO Elle Kaplan—a self-made entrepreneur and author—certainly doesn’t think so. In fact, Kaplan strongly advises well known public figures and the schools that host them against getting sucked into this craze.

“Public universities are shelling out big money to people like Matthew McConaughey or Katie Couric.. Do you think recent graduates even know who Katie Couric is?” pointed Kaplan.

Couric was paid $110,000 to give a commencement speech at the University of Oklahoma. And McConaughey was paid $166,000 to speak at the University of Houston just last year.

“The school is giving you an honorary degree, and you’re given this wonderful opportunity to inspire students, could you imagine demanding six figures, first class air travel to and from, spa treatments, it’s absolutely crazy,” Kaplan exclaimed.

With high budget shortfalls and rising student debt, “what does it say about the people running the University that they can’t negotiate that kind of deal?” asked Kaplan.

But not everyone is shelling out. At UC Berkeley, Sheryl Sandberg delivered one of the year’s best commencement speeches—for free.

“Sheryl Sandberg is a role model and a wonderful business person. She did what everyone should be doing,” Kaplan told Fox Business.

Another favorite was President Barack Obama's Rutgers address - also delivered at no cost.


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