lllinois Springfield campus paid nearly $1,400 for speakers' trips since 2013
The University of Illinois’ Springfield campus (UIS) spent $1,371 on travel and accommodations for its commencement speakers between 2013 and 2015, according to information provided in response to a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The school did not provide fees to the speakers, according to the report, nor has UIS paid any costs related to a commencement speaker since 2015.
In 2013, UIS paid for then-Seattle Times Editor Kathleen Best to speak on campus. Best’s airfare from Seattle to St. Louis cost $434, her rental car cost $237, and her stay at the Springfield Hilton -- now the Springfield Doubletree by Hilton -- cost $299.
The following year, the school paid $157 for speaker Donovan Pepper, Walgreens' national director of local government relations, to stay at the Springfield Doubletree by Hilton. And in 2015, UIS paid $488 to lodge commencement speaker Thomas Serafin, founder and CEO of Serafin & Associates, and commencement singer Denise Yates, a University of Illinois at Chicago employee.
Donna Sollenberger, the executive vice president and CEO of the University of Texas Medical Branch Health System, spoke at the 2016 commencement ceremony at no cost, and this year the school did not have a speaker.