Commencement keynote speaker Octavia Spencer to receive $100,000


Octavia Spencer attends a special screening of “Gifted” at the New York Institute of Technology on Thursday, April 6, 2017, in New York.

Benjamin VanHoose

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, recently revealed as the keynote speaker for next month’s commencement ceremony, will receive $100,000 for the speaking engagement.

According to the contract, which has the primary contact listed as Lashonda Taylor, director of University Ceremonies, Events and Special Programs, the “Hidden Figures” star is set to give a 15 to 20-minute address to the graduating class on May 13. 

The contract sets out a schedule for Spencer that includes a photo opportunity with up to 30 “VIPs” at 9 a.m., a procession at 10 a.m. and keynote address at 11 a.m. The ceremony is scheduled to conclude at noon.

Also outlined in the contract are arrangements for transportation, hotels and food billed to the university.

Spencer won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2011 for her role in “The Help.”

“We are delighted that this inaugural One University Commencement will feature the compelling story of Octavia Spencer, whose meaningful voice and inspiring example are sure to be a highlight of this momentous ceremony,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren in a press release Tuesday.

Kent State announced in October its plans for a campus-wide, outdoor graduation ceremony — a first for the university. The event is set for Dix Stadium with a projected crowd of 12,000 to 15,000, according to the contract.

Individual college commencement ceremonies will also each have keynote speakers, including Kent State alumni and former Kent State employees.

Benjamin VanHoose is the features editor, contact him at [email protected]