Brocker.Org: A graduation speaker used her address to explain how she negotiated her speaking fee — and then gave all of it to a 2017 graduate


One lucky graduate got a
check at the end of the University of Minnesota’s


Comedian and actress Maria Bamford used her graduation address to
provide a lecture on the art of negotiation to the
University of Minnesota class of 2017.

Bamford, who graduated from the school in 1993 with a
degree in creative writing, expounded upon the necessity
for liberal arts majors to care about money in a hilarious

“Let me begin by talking about the elephant in the room at a
liberal arts graduation ceremony — and that is money,” she began,
before reading an email from the school inviting her to

“Normally the college does not pay for commencement speakers. As
you can imagine, being a state-funded institution, we have to be
careful regarding the use of our resources,” Bamford said,
reciting the email aloud.

“Well, I thought to myself, but I am a self-funded
institution who needs to be careful regarding the use of my
resources,” she said, eliciting laughter from the audience. “Was
my alma mater low balling me?” she continued. “I’m not a sitting
governor and the football coach isn’t living check to

Bamford said she responded to the email by asking for a
$20,000 speaking fee. Minnesota came back with an offer of
$10,000, which she quickly accepted, though acknowledged she
should have asked them to “split the difference.” After taxes and
commission fees that netted out to about $5,000, according to

At the end of the speech she asked a graduate with student loans
to join her onstage and presented them with the check.

“What I’m giving to you is a check for $5,000 written to Sallie
Mae,” Bamford said. “I could’ve give you more, but I did not
negotiate for myself a higher salary.”

You can watch the entirety of the speech here: