As NewsBusters points out, buried in a Washington Post story this weekend on commencement speeches is an interesting note on Katie Couric, who according to the piece was paid $110,000 to speak at the University of Oklahoma commencement. (UPDATE: We later received an urgent message from Couric’s people that she donates her speaking fees to charity.)
Most universities settle for small-splash speakers such as state politicians or captains of local industry, but others aggressively enter the celebrity lottery. Generally this means bestowing an honorary degree and covering travel expenses, rather than paying a fee … But some offer big bucks. Katie Couric, the soon-to-be CBS anchor, will receive $110,000 to speak at the University of Oklahoma’s commencement — all paid for from private funds, the university emphasizes.
Forget the university for a second. This is Katie Couric, whose deal at NBC was reportedly $65 million over five years, with a reported $60 million coming from CBS. That’s roughly $125 million. Not bad for a decade of work.
The WaPo piece points out that commencement speakers often waive their usual fees.
This all reminds us of Barry Bonds, who reportedly charges full appearance fees for memorabilia and charitable work, on top of his five-year, $90 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.
Bonds contract is up at the end of this season. Perhaps he’ll then join Couric at the CBS News desk. Now that‘s a commencement we’d pay $110,000 to see.