Gov. Tom Corbett got a cool reception when he addressed a central Pennsylvania university's graduating class.
The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News says the that when the governor stepped to the microphone Saturday at the Millersville University ceremony, about a dozen students turned their chairs away from the stage.
About half of the faculty members wore yellow pins saying “I support public education, “and a few also turned their chairs away.
A black armband protest that had been discussed on campus failed to materialize.
Some students and faculty members had objected to Corbett's appearance, citing proposed cuts in funding for state universities.
Patty Garner, of Hanover, who graduated with a history degree, said she had hoped to pay for her education with federal loans but was forced to take out private loans.
“It's important not just to me, but to my parents, who both work full time and provide a lot of support for me,” Garner said.
Colleen Abrams, a social work major from New Jersey, said she was disappointed that Corbett had been invited.
“I just feel like he didn't support state funding for education,” said.
Others, however, said anyone bothered by the governor just shouldn't listen - and really, most people wouldn't anyway.
“It's not a big deal,” said Michael Carpenter, a business administration major from West Chester. “You're not going to remember in 10 years who you're commencement speaker is. It's not Oprah. It's not Seth MacFarlane.”
Corbett told the audience that their real education was just beginning.
“Success is less about genius than it is about effort,” he said. “This university taught you, but, more importantly, it made you a particular kind of person: curious, ambitious, impatient and ready to play a role in the larger world.”
The closest he came to alluding to the funding issue came in a story about how Thomas Edison lost millions of his own money creating a process for extracting iron ore.
Now mind you, it was his own money he was spending, not somebody else's,” Corbett said. “It's easy to spend somebody else's money, which is a habit we have been trying to change in Harrisburg.”