Backlash Continues from Donahue Commencement Speech at NC State

2:24 PM, May 26, 2003   |    comments
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North Carolina State University continues buzzing about the politics-laced graduation speech given by former talk-show host Phil Donahue.

Several students and audience members walked out May 17, and Donahue was heckled during his talk about his search for liberals.

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox has been receiving e-mail messages about it, responding in part to those who disliked the speech: "I share your disappointment in Phil Donahue's address to our graduates on Saturday. Invited by our chair of the faculty to provide an inspirational message to our graduates, Mr. Donahue chose instead to use our ceremonies as a platform for a speech better suited for a political audience."

Fox has ties to President George W. Bush that include serving as a science adviser to Bush when he was the governor of Texas and she was vice president for research at the University of Texas. She was appointed by Bush in 2001 to serve on the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

The microbiology professor who chairs NCSU's faculty senate and helped bring Donahue to campus has come under some criticism for the speech. Prof. Philip Carter and Donahue are graduates of the University of Notre Dame.

Carter said he was sorry that some family members were disappointed, but added that NCSU might have benefited from hearing Donahue's viewpoints.

"I think we took a big step toward becoming a university on Saturday," he said. "People say we're a conservative university. Well, that's not what the university is about."

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