Students logged online Monday evening, racing to join what many expect to be a crowded lottery for tickets to hear former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73 return to his alma mater to speak about globalization.
Clinton will speak on “contemporary global challenges” in Woolsey Hall at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 31, according to a press release. The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization will host Clinton and Globalization Center Director Ernesto Zedillo GRD ’81, former president of Mexico, will introduce him.
Only half of Woolsey’s 2,400 seats will be reserved for students, and Yale officials will allocate free student tickets by a random Web-based lottery, officials said. Students have until noon Friday to sign up for the lottery. There will be overflow seating for approximately 500 people at the Yale Law School auditorium, where the speech will be aired live on closed-circuit television, officials said.
University Secretary Linda Lorimer said she expects a high demand for tickets, which is why the Globalization Center instituted the lottery system.
“I think there will be a lot of student demand and I think there will be a lot of demand from faculty and staff as well,” Lorimer said. “Plus, as I understand it, the student Halloween activities don’t start until after most of us go to bed.”
This will be Clinton’s first official visit to Yale since he spoke during Yale’s tercentennial celebration in the fall of 2001 to a capacity crowd of 8,000 on Cross Campus. In that address, Clinton outlined both the advantages and challenges of globalization and urged the United States to continue globalization efforts in spite of the heightened national security that resulted from terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I thought his speech at the tercentennial was inspiring and insightful and I’m very much looking forward to his return to campus,” Lorimer said.
A Georgetown University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Clinton gave his tercentennial speech on Oct. 6, 2001, one day before the United States launched a military campaign in Afghanistan.
“I believe we’re engaged in the first great struggle for the soul of the 21st century,” Clinton said in his speech, commenting on the Sept. 11 attacks. “[But] it’s going to be all right — We can do it if we remember who we are and what we believe.”
Andrew Korn ’05 said he enjoyed Clinton’s tercentennial speech and is looking forward to hearing him speak next week.
“I loved it. It was right after Sept. 11 and it was a very appropriate and very inspiring speech,” Korn said. “I already put in my name. I think Clinton’s an overall intelligent man and a very inspired speaker and I’d be happy to hear his thoughts on any topic.”
Justin Ben-Asher ’06, who was not yet a Yalie when Clinton last visited campus, said he entered the online lottery and is looking forward to hearing Clinton speak. Ben-Asher said he misses the Clinton presidency.
“I’ve actually met him, but to hear him speak will be quite a unique experience as well,” Ben-Asher said. “I don’t think I know anybody who isn’t excited to hear him speak. It’ll be kind of a bittersweet experience because it will remind us of better times a few years back.”
Michael Fernandez ’07 said he does not care for Clinton’s politics and does not wish to hear his speech.
“I’m a Republican so I won’t be going,” Fernandez said. “I just don’t generally like the guy. A lot of potential was missed with what he could have done. After the Monica Lewinsky scandal — he became an ineffective president.”
Clinton’s wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73, spoke at Yale’s Class Day in 2001. The same weekend, President George W. Bush ’68 gave Yale’s 2001 Commencement Address.