Tuesday, July 07, 2009

UC Merced's Graduation Bill

UC Merced scored a coup by getting the First Lady as its graduation speaker. I wrote a post about that in May, noting the ballooning cost of having her speak and questioning how the university was going to raise as much money as was needed.

The number back then was $700,000. It turns out that the actual numbers are in now, and of course, they're higher:

The final price of the University of California, Merced's commencement ceremony featuring first lady Michelle Obama was more than $1 million — surpassing the original estimate tenfold.

Private contributions and interest on a private endowment fund have helped cover the cost. UC spokeswoman Patti Waid Istas said that nonstate dollars and other contributions will be used to cover the remaining balance of around $362,338.

The school had budgeted $100,000 for the May commencement ceremony. The price tag ended up being $1.04 million.

Was she worth it? I guess only the people present can make that call. And as long as no taxpayer dollars are being spent for that ego boost--and I'm not yet convinced that's the case, but I have no evidence otherwise--I'm really in no position to complain.


Ellen K said...

The only thing I can figure is that you have the same folks who run movie companies running the government out there. From what I understand, it is common for a movie to be running in the red with the hope of a good showing to pay the bills. The sad thing is, California is losing any production it used to have due to standards and taxes that are driving out businesses. I think the university had some sort of idea that "someone" would come along and pay to see this. While I don't know if her speech was worthy of such monetary outlay, given the state of California's economy, does this make sense? You have to wonder what programs, grants and scholarships will be cut to pay the bills.

On a larger scale, at some point I wonder if the cost of Michelle Obama's side trips are going to become an issue. When I hear of twenty car motorcades-with all vehicles having to be flown over to Europe for the trip, it's getting to be an economic burden for these escapades. Perhaps, like the rest of us, they should seek more modest forms of entertainment and travel.

zeusiswatching said...

I'd love to be back in California. I'm not rich enough or poor enough to go back.

I hope I can win the PCH sweepstakes so I can afford to just look at a picture of California.

Darren said...

If you click on my "pictures" label, you'll find many pictures of Northern California!