Former President Bill Clinton will be the commencement speaker for Columbia College on May 5, the college confirmed Tuesday.
Clinton agreed to speak at the request of Columbia College President Caroline Whitson, who said she has known Clinton “most of his adult life.”
Whitson and her husband are originally from Arkansas, where Clinton was governor for nine years before being elected president in 1992.
“The thing that I think that makes him such a perfect speaker for Columbia College is all the work he has done with his foundation,” Whitson said. “He’s been all about sustainability, working on the issue of poverty and diversity. Certainly Columbia College students are taught that their education is a gift they can give to the world, not something to make themselves more important but to do important work.”
Barbara Bush, the former First Lady and mother of former President George W. Bush, spoke at Columbia College’s 2005 commencement ceremony. But Whitson said she believes this will be the first time a former president has spoke at the college’s commencement ceremony.
Columbia College, known as “The Fighting Koalas”, is a women’s college founded in 1854 by the South Carolina Methodist Conference. It has approximately 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students. It’s undergraduate program is for women only, but its evening program is for men and women.