Columbia College President's Friendship Lands High-Profile Graduation Speaker
Former President Bill Clinton will speak at Saturday's commencement.
Columbia College snagged the highest-profile commencement speaker of all the state's colleges, thanks to college President Caroline Whitson's connections.
Former President Bill Clinton will speak at Columbia College's commencement ceremony Saturday.
Clinton and Whitson, who are both from Arkansas, became friends when Clinton started his first campaign for a seat in Congress in 1974, according to a report in The State. Whitson and her husband, Turner, campaigned for Clinton during that unsuccessful run.
The Whitsons were still supporting Clinton when he won the bid for Arkansas Attorney General and when he became governor of the state, according to the report.
When Clinton made it to the White House in 1992, the Whitsons even went for a visit and stayed in the Lincoln bedroom.
“That’s one of the great things about the Clintons,” Whitson told The State. “No matter how big their world got ... they always remembered their friends.”
This year was Whitson's last chance to bring Clinton to Columbia College to speak; she's retiring next month after 12 year's as the school's president.
The ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. at Township Auditorium, and is only open to graduates, their families and the college's faculty and administration. About 235 students will receive degrees, according to the college's website.