The 42nd President of the United States will be on Colgate’s campus at 6:00 p.m. on October 29 to deliver an hour-long lecture.
In the past, prominent speakers for the The Kerschner Family Global Leaders Lecture Series, such as the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Colin Powell and Tony Blair, were able to meet with Colgate students in smaller groups at intimate events, such as group dinners. However, former President Bill Clinton will not have time. After his speech, Clinton will leave immediately for a political rally in Utica.
“I couldn’t get access for students to meet with him,” Associate Vice President and Director of Special Events Mari Assaid said.
Assaid has been in contact with the Secret Service to ensure Clinton’s safe arrival and stay at Colgate. On the night of Clinton’s speech, all bags, cell phones and other electronic devices will not be allowed in the Sanford Field House.
The Kerschner Family Global Leaders Lecture Series at Colgate was started five years ago.
“It took three years to raise the endowment for the series,” Assaid said.
With the support of parents and alumni, tickets for the series are free, but limited. Only 5,000 people can gain entrance to the Charles H. Sanford Field House. In previous years, this number restriction has not been a major issue. However, this year, Bill Clinton has drawn an overwhelming number of interested spectators.
“His popularity has resurged,” Assaid said. “We never expected such an overwhelming crowd.”
Senior Nathan Dalrymple is concerned about the number of people attending the event.
“I’m going to try to get there early, but I feel like people are going to be lining up out the door to get a good seat,” Dalrymple said.
Junior Nikki Holladay felt the same way.
“I’d like to get there early so I can figure out where the best place to sit is and I can be first in line when he opens up the floor for questions,” Holladay said.
Tickets were first available to Colgate students and later available for faculty and staff. After several days, alumni had access to the tickets, and finally parents could reserve tickets as well. However, since the lecture is being held during Family Weekend, the demand for tickets has increased. Many parents and alumni were unable to reserve tickets, putting them on a long wait-list.
“Most of the people on the waitlist are parents, and we are hoping to accommodate them all as the date approaches,” Assaid said.
For those who are unable to gain access to the Sanford Field House, there will be two satellite locations in Love Auditorium and Golden Auditorium streaming a live presentation of the Clinton lecture. Tickets are not needed for either of these locations. However, those tickets not picked up at the bookstore by Friday night will be distributed at will call located in Sanford Field House on a first come, first served basis.
Since his presidency, Bill Clinton has started the William J. Clinton Foundation to address issues such as climate change, sustainability, promoting economic opportunity and HIV/AIDS. He also started the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together college students, global leaders and citizens to address pressing issues of the present day. For his hour-long speech, Clinton was asked by President Herbst to discuss what it will take for individuals in our country to provide leadership for a more peaceful world. Clinton was also asked to reflect on his experiences before and after his presidency.
However, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Murray Decock says that the most important aspect of Clinton’s lecture is his presence on campus.
“He [Clinton] represents the ultimate in a life of public service, not as a former U.S. president, but as someone who teaches us to ‘give back’ by ‘giving back.’ The majority of profit from his books and talks go to the William J. Clinton Foundation,” Decock said. “Philanthropy, like liberal arts, is a uniquely American attribute, so it’s important that we really pay attention when one of the world’s most thoughtful philanthropists strolls into our backyard.”