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Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to speak at CSU Stanislaus fundraiser

POSTED March 26, 2010 9:15 p.m.
Sarah Palin may be more at home in the snowy environs of her native Alaska, but the former vice-presidential candidate and Alaska governor will be in sunny Turlock on June 25, when she will serve as the guest of honor at California State University, Stanislaus’ 50th Anniversary Gala.
“We are proud and honored to welcome such a well-known figure to the CSU Stanislaus campus,” said Matt Swanson, president of the CSU Stanislaus Foundation Board of Directors.
Tickets to the black-tie fundraiser, benefiting university programs and student services, are $500. The event includes a five-course meal and dancing in addition to Palin’s keynote.
The gala is being coordinated and fully funded by the non-profit CSU Stanislaus Foundation Board, the entity that oversees private gifts to the university. No state, public or university funds will be used on Palin’s appearance.
Then Governor of Alaska, Palin came to national attention when was tapped as running mate for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the 2008 election. She has since become a best-selling author with the release of her autobiography, “Going Rogue: An American Life,” and now serves as a Fox News Channel political commentator.
It was announced on Thursday that Palin’s newest endeavor would see the former governor helm a new show on TLC, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” an eight-episode documentary series that explores the 49th state.
Palin has been politically active since leaving the office of governor, becoming involved in the national health care debate. She drew scorn from Democrats earlier this week for tweeting, “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: ‘Don't Retreat, Instead — RELOAD!’” in response to the passage of the health care bill.
Regardless of the party divide, Jacob McDougal, CSU Stanislaus director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving said he expects Palin to be “somebody who is going to draw” attendees — a crucial consideration for the fundraising endeavor.
“As a former candidate for the vice president, and first woman on the Republican party ticket, and first female governor of Alaska, she really is a trailblazer,” McDougal said. “And that’s true whether or not you agree with her politics.”
The Foundation hopes to attract between 250-300 guests to the gala, at $500 per seat. Sponsorships could generate additional funding for the university — up to $50,000 for a “Platinum Sponsor” package including two tables of eight, photos with Palin, tickets to a VIP reception, logo recognition in the event program and promotional materials, valet parking and an autographed copy of Palin’s book for each guest.
McDougal said that planning wasn’t far enough along to estimate how much money the event might raise. But the gala will need to draw a good number of guests just to cover Palin’s speaking fee.
In the past, Palin has commanded as much as $100,000 for a speaking engagement. The amount Palin will specifically earn for the Turlock engagement is not publicly available, per the terms of her contract.
The June 25 gala is just one of a number of events the Foundation has planned for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Other currently scheduled events include an April 15 College of the Arts Golden Gala Concert, an April 22 Inaugural Biennial Alumni Exhibition Art Show and a May 15 Alumni Spring Reunion.
To purchase a ticket to the 50th Anniversary Gala, call 667-3131.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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