Clinton invited to speak in June

by Alexander R. Edlich | 5/6/94 5:00am

President Bill Clinton has been invited to speak at the College's Commencement on June 12 but has not yet confirmed, according to White House officials. Labor Secretary Robert Reich '68, who will receive an honorary degree, will speak at the ceremony if Clinton declines.

"The President's been invited and the Secretary knows that and wants to find out about if he is going to give the speech," Allison Cutler, Reich's director of scheduling, said.

In a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. yesterday, Cutler said Reich, who is a former College Trustee, does not know Clinton's plans.

A source close to the College's Committee on Honorary Degrees, which nominates candidates to give the keynote address at graduation, confirmed that the President has received a letter asking him to speak.

But the President's scheduling department said no decision has been made.

A source at the White House said the President will speak this year at Galludet, a school for the blind located in Washington, and at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Last year he spoke at the New Hampshire Technical School in Stratham, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The source close to the committee said College officials are "trying hard" to persuade the President to get him to speak at graduation.

As of yesterday, arrangements were still up in the air, but Cutler said, "If the President comes, then he is the speaker." She said if Clinton does not come, she assumes Reich will speak.

"The Secretary will be there," Reich's deputy director of scheduling in advance, Kathryn Jayne, said in a telephone interview from Washington. "Our impression is that he is giving the Commencement speech."

The Commencement speaker is chosen from a list of honorary degree candidates, which is approved by the Board of Trustees.

The College normally does not release the list of candidates until late April or May, but The Dartmouth reported last year's speaker, television journalist Bill Moyers, on Feb. 22.

History Professor Gene Garthwaite, the chair of the Committee on Honorary Degrees, could not be reached last night. All other members of the committee declined to comment.

"We don't like to announce honorary degree recipients until we're absolutely sure," Board of Trustees Secretary Cheryl Reynolds said. "Until that time they are kept strictly confidential."

College President James Freedman said last night his "lips are sealed" but added, "the only thing I can tell you is that we will have an outstanding speaker at Commencement."

The Secretary of Labor's office said Reich has been asking if the President was going to speak.

Cutler said she "would have to have a conversation with Cheryl Reynolds about the Secretary's role."

College Spokesman Alex Huppe said he did not have any information about the Commencement speaker or the other degree candidates.

But the source close to the committee said, the "impression is that [Reich] is giving the Commencement speech [but] if Clinton is on campus, chances are good he'll give the speech."

Reich graduated from Dartmouth summa cum laude in 1968. He met Clinton when they were both Rhodes scholars at Oxford University.

Clinton brought a seasick Reich some chicken soup while on the ocean-liner trip to England.

Clinton and Reich later attended Yale Law School together and kept in touch throughout the years.

Last year, Clinton nominated Reich to serve in a cabinet post as the head of the Department of Labor. At that time, Reich resigned from his position on the College's Board of Trustees.

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