Jamie Dimon Stirs Outcry From College Students

Coulombe said her goal is to persuade the university to choose a new speaker.

"To have someone representing that industry who earns more than $1 million a year come to speak to a group of students who are lucky to maybe make $20,000 a year as they get out of college just seems insensitive," Coulombe said.

Even if Dimon does not step down Minnie Bruce Pratt, a Syracuse University professor and protestor at the rally, says the protest is still significant. "This is a protest that is education way beyond this university and whether or not the chancellor changes her mind, or whether or not Dimon withdrawals or whatever should happen on the actual day, this will have been immensely successful."

Syracuse University Stands by Its Man

As the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Dimon, a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Business School, headed one of the nation's largest banks through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

In March 2008, he steered it through the purchase of the almost-bankrupt investment bank Bear Stearns (he famously offered $2 per share, which was raised to $10), and six months later bought Washington Mutual, after WaMu was seized by the federal government.

At the end of that year, JPMorgan Chase received $25 billion in the government bailout plan, a figure Dimon later referred to as "a scarlet letter."

In an open letter to students, Cantor said that Dimon's experience through bailouts and buyouts makes him the perfect commencement speaker.

"It is rare that a university is able to bring a speaker with a birds-eye view of, and extensive on-the-ground experience with, a major global challenge," she wrote, "and that was in the forefront of my mind as I made my selection this year."

Cantor wrote in her letter that every year she receives a short list of recommendations for commencement speakers from a committee of student marshals and student trustee representatives.

"The Daily Orange" reported that, besides Dimon, Maya Angelou, Tina Fey and Bill Gates were some of the names on that list.

Last year's commencement speaker was Vice President Joe Biden, a Syracuse University alumnus.

Activist Jane Goodall, singer Billy Joel and ABC News' Bob Woodruff were among recent speakers.

Protest is not new to Syracuse speakers. Students objected to the university's choice of Malcolm Forbes in 1988 and Rudy Giuliani in 2002.

The Bank and the School

In 2007, SU and JPMorgan Chase launched a collaborative effort to enhance the university's financial services technology curriculum. The 10-year agreement came along with a $30 million commitment to the school. One campus building was renovated to include a "technology center," with prominent branding of JPMorgan.

Four hundred and fifty students are enrolled in the program for financial technology.

While a petition circulated by Take Back Commencement contained a comment that inviting Dimon "seems like it is just the Chancellor's way of strengthening ties to JP Morgan and throwing [the] Class of '10 under the bus," others have defended the connection.

"Refurbishing that building is a huge resource for the university," Whitman School of Management senior Chris Ransom told ABCNews.com. "Not only will it help students get jobs, but it could help them get front-office jobs and higher incomes. And JP Morgan will be able to give back more to the school."

Stefanski concurred.

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