Ben Stein backs out of UVM commencement address

I blogged a few days ago about Ben Stein being chosen as the commencement speaker at the University of Vermont. Well, according to President Fogel’s response letter to Richard Dawkins, Stein will neither be receiving an honorary degree nor be speaking at the school’s commencement. Here’s the exchange, beginning with President Fogel’s response to Dawkins:

Dear Professor Dawkins,

As one who has been deeply instructed by your work and who applauds your scientific leadership, I was honored to find a personal email from you in my inbox, but very sorry indeed that the occasion was the decision to invite Ben Stein to be a Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Although we have recently learned that Mr. Stein will be unable to receive the honorary degree here or to serve as Commencement speaker, please know that it was our expectation that his remarks would address the global economic crisis and that he would speak from his widely acknowledged area of expertise on the economy. We regret that he will be unable to do so.

With thanks again for writing, with admiration, and with every good wish–Daniel Mark Fogel, President, The University of Vermont

And here’s Dawkins’ response to that response:

Dear President Fogel

Thank you very much indeed for your extremely gracious letter.

I cannot disguise my gladness that Ben Stein will not be going to Vermont. Thank you very much for letting me know. I wish you, and your great university all good fortune. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

With my very best wishes, and thanks again for your letter

Yours sincerely

Richard Dawkins


One Response to Ben Stein backs out of UVM commencement address

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