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The value of an Obama commencement speech

Sally Herships Mar 21, 2014
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The value of an Obama commencement speech

Sally Herships Mar 21, 2014
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President Obama will be giving the commencement speech at UC Irvine this June. You’d hope the President would have valuable advice for new graduates. But Jeffrey Papa, President of SimpsonScarborough, a higher education marketing firm, wants everyone to remember that “higher Education is a business.”

 So, what would be the value, and cost, of a Presidential speech at your school?

VALUE: $1,000,000 worth of marketing

Jeffrey Papa of SimpsonScarborough says schools can spend up to a million dollars on a marketing campaign for just one project.

VALUE: Lots of media coverage

There were over 400 stories about UC Irvine’s commencement this Thursday, with many more coming before now and the actual event in June.

VALUE: Street cred, prestige

Dan Hurley with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities says it’s unlikely the school could find another speaker who’d be as much of a media magnet as President Obama. But academic institutions need to strike a delicate balance between looking like a prestigious institution, and still getting the word out.

COST: $1,200,000 on stadium

UC Irvine had to get a stadium large enough to accommodate its special graduation.

COST: Thousands on security

Though the school isn’t sure what the exact tab is, security for POTUS is figured in to its $1.2 million stadium deal. Dan Hurley says while the White House isn’t charging the school, there’s a lot of advance work with security detail that has an institution’s staff running hard in the days leading up to a visit.

The President needs a good speech. Help him out: What’s the best commencement speech advice you’ve ever heard?

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