I have tried to figure out the connection between Katie Couric as Commencement Speaker and Katie Couric as Eph girlfriend (of Brooks Perlin ’96) for several months. On the one hand, it seemed unlikely that it was a coincidence that Couric’s boyfriend and speaking plans were both Eph-related. On the other hand, the timing made little sense. Commencement Speakers are selected well in advanced and, yet, Couric and Perlin only started dating in the fall.

The Record solves the mystery.

Katie Couric will be sharing her pearls of wisdom at this year’s Commencement, but don’t believe the rumors – she is not speaking at this year’s graduation because of her alum boyfriend, Brooks Perlin ’96. “He has nothing to do with it,” she said. “No, I agreed to this two years ago. He doesn’t wield that much influence, tell them.” But Couric does have personal ties to the College, albeit less sensational ones. “My sister [Clara Couric Batchelor] spent her junior year at Williams and my brother-in-law [James P. Batchelor ’72] went to Williams,” she said. “Williams was actually my safety school … I’m kidding. That’s a joke.” Couric explained that she had been asked to speak at Commencement two years ago, but rescheduled for 2007 because of prior commitments. “I’m really very, very honored because I know what a fine school Williams is and what a beautiful place Williamstown is.”

But she still remained mum about her much-younger boyfriend. “I thought this was the Williams school newspaper not EphBlog,” Couric said. “Honey, I am not going to get into all this stuff, it’s not something I’m talking about. Thank you for asking, I appreciate your chutzpah.” She may be America’s sweetheart, but Couric is no pushover.

OK, I admit it. I made up that part about EphBlog. Couric actually used some other publication (The National Enquirer) as her example of a sleazy, celebrity-obsessed gossip rag.

The Boston Globe confirms this account.

In nabbing high-profile commencement speakers, sometimes it’s all in whom you know. Behind many of the star speakers is a personal tie with a university president, a trustee, or an alumnus.

While many colleges are upfront about the personal ties that land big names, some, such as Williams College, are reluctant to divulge details of the courtship, creating intrigue.

Snarky gossip columns and blogs have speculated whether Couric accepted Williams College’s invitation to speak at commencement on June 2 because of a possible new love interest. Press reports last month tied Couric to Brooks Perlin, a New York entrepreneur and a 1996 Williams alumnus.

“It’s simply coincidental,” Mathew Hiltzik, a Couric spokesman, said in a phone interview with the Globe.

He stressed that another friend of Couric with ties to Williams first invited her two years ago, but that she couldn’t accept because of her impending departure from the “Today Show.” He also pointed out that Couric’s brother-in-law and other family members are Williams alumni.

Comments:

1) Since it is almost certain that the writer used EphBlog as a source, he should credit us.

2) Who is this other “friend of Couric with ties to Williams?” EphBlog readers want to know!

3) And this makes the whole story even better! Now, instead of speculation about how the Couric/Perlin relationship led to an invitation to Commencement, we have evidence going the other way, reason to believe that the speech caused the relationship.

Imagine that you are Brooks Perlin, meeting a beautiful celebrity, desperately casting about for an interesting topic of conversation. Presto! Turns out that the two of you have Williams in common.

Not the first relationship to be started discussing the wonder of our Purple Mountains . . .

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