What goes into colleges landing big-name commencement speakers? At our On Campus blog, Kirk Carapezza dug into the phenomenon:

At Emerson College this week, Jay Leno joked about losing his Tonight Show chair, easing some of the pressure on graduates hoping to get and keep a job. And later this month, Medford-native Michael Bloomberg will likely tell Harvard grads about leading New York City for three consecutive four-year terms. And befitting a music school, Berklee asked Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page to riff in front of its graduates.

Those are some of the big names appearing at local colleges this graduation season. But here at the Higher Education Desk it makes us wonder: does it really matter who delivers these speeches?

"We look for different types of people with different types of backgrounds but we look for people who can inspire our graduating students," said Marty Meehan, chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.