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Ex-American Airlines CEO Flunks Out

American Airlines CEO Donald Carty
AP
A newspaper columnist will replace former American Airlines CEO Donald Carty as speaker for Saint Louis University's commencement in May.

Last week, Bill McClellan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a column criticizing the Jesuit-run Catholic university and Carty for their untimely match-up for the May 17 graduation ceremony.

"The local Jesuits have shamed me," McClellan wrote last week. "With charity in their hearts - and maybe a new fountain in the back of their minds - they have invited Carty to give the commencement address at St. Louis University next month. Imagine that. Carty will send the new grads into the world. Was Carl Icahn busy? Kenny Lay couldn't make it?"

Carty had come under intense criticism for arranging executive bonuses and pension payments while asking workers to accept nearly $2 billion in annual cuts so the company could avert bankruptcy.

Late Wednesday, Saint Louis University announced it had released Carty from his commencement duties. Carty resigned from American Airlines the next day.

Next came McClellan. "Friday afternoon, I came into the paper and found an e-mail from the Rev. Larry Biondi, the president of St. Louis University. Would I be interested in giving the speech?" the columnist wrote.

As it turned out, McClellan was interested.

"It is not like I don't have some experience in this regard. A couple of years ago, I gave the commencement address for the GED graduates at the Potosi Correctional Center. They were a very tough audience," McClellan wrote.

The university said it chose McClellan for his creativity in expressing his views to readers.