Former President Bill Clinton will headline the last event of Yale’s yearlong tercentennial celebration next month, University Secretary Linda Lorimer said Tuesday.
The University is also bringing world leaders, top academics and the rock band Counting Crows to culminate Yale’s 300th birthday in October.
Clinton will speak at Yale on Saturday, Oct. 6 as part of a series of speeches about globalization and leadership delivered by University faculty and alumni that weekend. Other speakers will include former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo GRD ’81, who received an honorary degree in May, and professors Paul Kennedy, Gaddis Smith and Gustav Ranis.
Clinton will be the third U.S. president to visit campus to honor Yale’s Tercentennial. Former President George H.W. Bush ’48 headlined last spring’s second major tercentennial weekend, which was devoted to alumni. In May, President George W. Bush ’68 spoke at the University’s 300th Commencement.
University Secretary Linda Lorimer said she is not yet sure if Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73 will accompany her husband. The New York senator was Class Day speaker at last spring’s commencement ceremony.
What will begin as a serious and tradition-infused weekend kicking off with an academic convocation featuring speeches by Harvard University president Larry Summers and Princeton University president Shirley Tilghman will end on a lighter but louder note. The Counting Crows, a light rock band whose hits include “Mr. Jones” and “A Long December” will perform on Sunday night on Old Campus for all Yale students.
The University paid the rock group between $55,000 and $65,000 to bring it to campus. Tercentennial planners and students said the concert will ensure that students will feel a part of Yale’s birthday celebration.
“Having the Crows during the Tercentennial ensures that it will be a weekend specifically for the students,” Yale College Council Treasurer Yael Zeira ’03 said. “The first was for the community, the second was for the alums. Now it is our turn to celebrate.”
Students can also expect to see celebrities with Yale degrees like “Law and Order” star Sam Waterston ’62 that weekend. Tercentennial coordinator Janet Lindner said many of Hollywood’s best were invited to the celebration but to this point few have confirmed their attendance.
Yale’s historic birthday will be highlighted on Friday night with an extravaganza at the Yale Bowl with fireworks, a laser light show, a 300-person choir, a 150-piece orchestra and a five-story stage. Preceding the show will be a festival outside of the Bowl with food and stands with demonstrations of martial arts and performances by various music groups.
Amidst a celebration that is using tradition as its guide, the University is not afraid to break some rules. The Yale football team will face Dartmouth College in its first-ever Sunday game.
Students are divided as to whether a former president or a chart-topping band are more exciting.
“I think Bill Clinton will be fascinating,” Karen Gluck ’03 said.
But not everyone wants to see the president.
“I’m sick of Clinton,” Ceara Donnelly ’04 said. “I just want to see the Crows, who I love.”