Stein to be 2009 commencement speaker

Ben Stein, the comedic actor, lawyer and writer, has been chosen by UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel and the honorary degree committee to be the 2009 Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient at the graduation ceremonies in May. “Ben Stein has had a distinguished career, is a dynamic and engaging speaker, and is popular among young people,” Director of University Communications Enrique Corredera said.”As an economist, he is also a sought-after commentator on the current economic and political situation, which are both very topical,” Corredera said. Corredera said that, for $7,500, UVM secured Stein’s presence at this year’s Commencement. However, some students are less than impressed.Stein spoke at UVM last April, promoting his documentary about intelligent design, which he believes in. His religious and political views are the source of much controversy. “When he was here [in April], he didn’t even make that many great points in what he had to say. But you know what, I think it was better than some,” UVM junior Tyler Buswell said. “Some people are very enamored by his accomplishments, especially in advertising Clear Eyes Solutions. Others, not so much.”The University and President’s Office are not concerned about their decision.”The University is a marketplace of ideas, and commencement speakers over the years have represented many divergent points on the political spectrum,” Corredera said. As his bio makes clear, Mr. Stein’s expertise, experience, and speaking topics are wide-ranging and not confined to a narrow point of view. When Mr. Stein spoke at UVM 18 months ago, his remarks did not touch on religious matters,” he said.UPDATE: Ben Stein has withdrawn as commencement speaker Click here for an update from Cynic Newsblog, Straight from the Source