After educating a student for four years, universities get one last teaching moment with the selection of the commencement speaker. In case we needed another indication of the lack of intellectual diversity on college campuses, we have it in the form of a survey of commencement speakers. According to the Young America’s Foundation annual Commencement Speakers Survey, only 10 conservative speakers are scheduled to speak at the 2012 commencement ceremonies for the top 100 universities as listed by US News and World Report. While this isn’t a complex social science survey, a quick read through the list of speakers makes the point. Yale has Barbara Walters, Georgetown has Kathleen Sebelius, and my alma mater, the University of Virginia, has Katie Couric. Monday, President Obama delivered the commencement address at Barnard College. The survey finds that there are more Obama Administration officials and appointees speaking than conservatives.
Sixteen Obama administration officials and appointees will speak, more than all the conservatives combined. Young America’s Foundation’s previous research shows that Bush administration officials spoke at the top 100 universities a total of 14 times throughout his Presidency. In President Obama’s first three years, administration officials have spoken 29 times—more than double the total number of Bush administration speeches.
Take a look at your college’s website and see who is scheduled as the commencement speaker. Chances are good that it is not a conservative.