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The Most CONTROVERSIAL Graduation Speakers

Huffington Post     First Posted: 06/16/10 06:12 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 05:10 PM ET

Commencement speakers can be equal-opportunity offenders, irking people across party lines -- orators are either too liberal or too conservative, too famous or not famous enough. Syracuse University's Daily Orange reports that even famed anthropologist Jane Goodall raised the ire of students when she was chosen to address the class of 2005 ("What could we learn from, you know, the person who spent all her time in Africa with gorillas?" students complained).

We compiled a list of the most contended speakers in recent years. Email us if your campus has hosted a polarizing figure: college@huffingtonpost.com.


Barbara Bush
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Wellesley College's class of 1990 was "outraged" at the prospect of the former first lady speaking at their graduation, saying she did not embody the type of woman the college aims to educate. The choice sparked protests on campus, as well as a statement from George H.W. Bush in defense of his wife. ''I think these young women can have a lot to learn from Barbara Bush and from her unselfishness and from her advocacy of literacy and of being a good mother and a lot of other things," he said.
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