Hundreds of University of South Florida screaming students rose as the 56-year-old actor took the stage to discuss philanthropy, social engagement and the pastime he inspired: “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”
“It’s 1994 and I’m just out there minding my own business, making movies and trying to support my family and all of a sudden people start talking to me about this game,” said Bacon, best known for his role as a dancing rebel in the 1984 film “Footloose.”
“It had taken off as this drinking game spreading across campuses, and I thought I was going to be responsible for all this young alcoholism.”
The crowd laughed as Bacon paced in black jeans and a black leather jacket, telling jokes and doing impressions.
Bacon collected $70,000 for the April lecture at the Tampa campus.
From California to New York, public universities routinely pay fees that exceed four years of tuition for speeches that last little more than an hour. The practice drew scrutiny after University of Nevada at Las Vegas students protested Hillary Clinton’s $225,000 honorarium in June. A Bloomberg News review of public records at state universities in California, New York and Florida shows a rich market for those with something to say, regardless of traditional academic accomplishment.