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Le Moyne’s choice of commencement speaker drawing criticism

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Le Moyne’s choice of commencement speaker drawing criticism
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Colleges go all different directions when it comes to commencement speakers. Some bring in politicians and world leaders, while others take a more home-grown approach. But the decision by Le Moyne College to bring in Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor for this year's celebration left more than a few people puzzled. Our Andrew Sorensen explains the logic behind the choice.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For college seniors, spring semester is a special time.

"I'm ready to start my life and take my education and actually do something with it," said Le Moyne College senior Bethany Dixon.

But for seniors at Le Moyne College, there's some rain on that parade.

"Commencement is supposed to be the capstone of everything and knowing that it's now going to be associated with another school is kind of a letdown," said senior Aubree Weaver.

Weaver said it came as a surprise.

"All of the seniors got an announcement on Monday saying that they had announced our senior commencement speaker. We found out it was actually SU's chancellor," she said.

"This year we're thrilled to report that Chancellor Nancy Cantor will be our commencement speaker," said Provost Linda LeMura.

Some seniors we spoke with didn't really care. But for others…

"She's not exactly relevant to us," said Weaver. "And it's frustrating that they chose SU that a lot of us view as a competitor rather than our own little family here."

There are some other frustrations.

"They didn't really explain very well how the speaker was picked," said Dixon.

But mostly they asked why Cantor?

"At least someone with a connection, an alum or a professor, someone who's been here for a while, someone who really understands what it's like to be a part of Le Moyne," Dixon said.

The administration here has an answer for that. They say there is a relationship here and it's a long one.

"Nancy has championed numerous collaborative arrangements and agreements with Le Moyne College that have had a profound impact," LeMura said.

LeMura cited Cantor as a leading intellectual on education and a great partner. She said commencement day should bring everything to light.

"I think our students will be pleasantly surprised at the message," she said.

LeMura also said they've face criticism before, but they feel they've always made the right pick to send off their seniors the right way.

Le Moyne's commencement will be on May 19th.

Cantor could not be reached for comment.

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