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UH to Pay $135,000 for McConaughey Speech

Call it the Houston Buyers Club: The University of Houston is paying $135,000 plus travel expenses to get Matthew McConaughey to speak at its spring commencement. The actor is donating the money to charity.

Matthew McConaughey at the Austin Club in Austin, Texas on Feb. 5, 2015.

Call it the Houston Buyers Club: The University of Houston is paying $135,000 plus travel expenses to get Matthew McConaughey to speak at its spring commencement.

Tuesday's big reveal followed the university's initial reluctance to release the amount. In a statement, school officials said the Academy Award-winning actor will donate the money to charity, minus the cut that will go to the booking agency that arranged the event.

Such fees are common for celebrities, politicians and other public figures who appear on college campuses. Musician Jack White made news recently for his list of demands prior to a performance at the University of Oklahoma. Those requests included “fresh home-made guacamole,” according to a report by The Oklahoma Daily.

UH announced plans for McConaughy’s address in January. The school initially declined to release the details of its contract after the Houston Chronicle requested it

The money will go to the jk livin Foundation, an organization McConaughey created. The nonprofit “is dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future,” according to the foundation’s website.

“It was established from the outset that if Matthew McConaughey was available to speak at the event, all fees would be donated to the jk living Foundation,” the UH statement said. 

Disclosure: The University of Houston has been a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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