Bill Clinton a no-show for Tercentennial

Though he has yet officially to inform Yale, former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73 will not attend the tercentennial celebration next weekend.

Yale administrators extended an invitation to Clinton to speak on a panel entitled “Creating Economic Prosperity” at the second major tercentennial weekend, which is dedicated to the University’s most active alumni. Although Clinton never responded to Yale’s invitation, a spokeswoman from his office said he does not plan to attend.

“The former president will not be [at Yale]. He will be with his family that weekend,” said Julia Payne, a spokeswoman for Clinton.

The panel Clinton was asked to speak on features Yale President Richard Levin and two of Clinton’s political appointees — former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin LAW ’64 and Janet Yellen GRD ’71, the former chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. The tercentennial weekend will feature talks and panels with some of Yale’s most prominent alumni, including cartoonist Garry Trudeau ’70, writer Tom Wolfe GRD ’57 and Procter & Gamble chief executive officer John Pepper ’50.

Administrators said they did not know if Clinton was coming.

“I don’t know for a fact that he’s not coming,” Tercentennial director Janet Lindner said. “But there’s only a week [left], so the likelihood is that he’s not coming.”

Levin said he personally sent a formal letter to Clinton asking him to come, but to this point there has been “no final answer.” He added that he wrote to all the major dignitaries suggesting potential ways they could participate in the weekend.

Lindner said the Tercentennial office plans to work with Clinton to select a date when he will be able to come to Yale to celebrate the University’s birthday.

Without Clinton in attendance, there may be no Democratic representative to match the weekend’s major Republican speaker, former President George H.W. Bush ’48.

Bush is scheduled to speak about “Yale and Public Service” on Saturday, April 21.

Clinton and Bush were not the only major figures invited to the weekend. Yale also extended invitations to President George W. Bush ’68, former President Gerald Ford LAW ’41, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 and Ohio Governor Robert Taft. None of these big names will be in attendance, but unlike Clinton, each of them responded to their invitations.

“Former President Ford wrote a nice personal note to the Tercentennial office,” Lindner said.

While Clinton and many other dignitaries won’t be attending next week, administrators said they are hopeful they’ll come for the final tercentennial weekend in October.

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