Former President Bill Clinton has waived the speaking fees for his Ohio State visit this November, said Hank Wilson, director of communications for the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.
In 2007, Clinton was OSU’s spring commencement speaker, and he has now been invited by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs to speak at OSU again in the Mershon Auditorium at 3 p.m. on Nov. 19.
Clinton has previously charged between $100,001 and $200,000 for speaking engagements at Temple Law School and University of California Los Angeles, according to the Clinton Foundation website.
“Back in January, when the Glenn School became the Glenn College, we wanted to have a celebration in the spring and have a major speaker talk about public service and its role in society,” Wilson said in an email. “The Glenn College asked potential speakers to waive their fee when we were looking for a speaker for the event.”
Wilson said that Clinton was one of the people they asked to be the speaker, but he was unable to come to that particular event and instead offered to come speak later in the year.
“This is a major opportunity for students to get to see a former president,” said Mircea Lazar, the communications director for the OSU College Democrats and a third-year in international relations and economics. “I am excited to hear what he has to say about the major issues of the day and we want to encourage as many people as possible to attend.”
Lazar said he doesn’t think that Clinton’s visit has anything to do with campaign politics, even though his wife, Hillary Clinton, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2016.
“He just so happens to be the spouse of the current Democratic frontrunner,” Lazar said.
Levi Cramer, the communications director for the OSU College Republicans and a third-year in political science, said he doesn’t think Clinton dropping his speaking fee during his wife’s campaign is coincidental.
“It’s very interesting that so close to the election, the husband of one of the leading candidates is willing to come out and waive his speaking fee of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Cramer said.
Since Clinton has waived his speaking fee, Wilson said that ticket sales money will go toward the Glenn College scholarship fund after event expenses like venue rental and audio and visual productions are paid.
OSU students can purchase tickets for the event at a discounted price of $10 through the Wexner Center for the Arts.