North Texas Daily

What you need to know about the Abbott commencement

What you need to know about the Abbott commencement

April 03
09:24 2015

Greg_Abbott_by_Gage_SkidmoreDalton LaFerney / Digital & Views Editor

We reported Thursday that UNT officially confirmed Gov. Greg Abbott as the keynote commencement speaker in next month’s graduation ceremony. Immediate conversation developed on social media, with most of the commentators opposed to the university’s choice.

Here’s what you need to know:

UNT’s new mass commencement

When graduates dress for diploma day, they will be the first in a long time at UNT to commence as one class, instead of the traditional college-by-college setup. Now, all graduates will attend the same commencement, so they’ll hear the governor’s address — unless of course they don’t show up. The commencement is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, May 16 at Apogee Stadium.

He’ll speak for free

Unlike past private speakers, such as Rainn Wilson or George Takei, Abbott will speak free of charge. Governors speak at public universities for free as part of their public service.

Abbott saves UNT big money

UNT was in negotiations with actor Michael J. Fox for the speaker position, but when Abbott agreed, President Smatresk said administrators immediately dropped those talks and shook hands with the governor. The university would have spent a minimum of $150,000, and up to $499,000 to bring Fox to UNT, according to a Denton Record-Chronicle report.

Abbott’s second time in Denton, first at UNT

In February 2014, at the start of Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign, he stopped by to rally supporters. Denton County is a hotspot for Republicans, and this election cycle tallied record highs for governor from the county.  He did not visit UNT, however, unlike his Democratic opponent Wendy Davis, who rallied in the Library Mall last semester.

Featured Image: Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at FreePac, hosted by FreedomWorks, in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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