LSE spent £3000+ on director’s departure

The London School of Economics (LSE) spent thousands of pounds on parties, gifts, and a portrait to mark the departure of former director Craig Calhoun this summer.

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed Craig Calhoun, who left his post in September after four years at LSE, hosted two leaving events and received three gifts.

LSE hosted a leaving party in the senior dining room of the Old Building at June 22, spending £2000 on food and drink for the reception, £100 on flowers, and £97.12 on stewarding for the cloakroom.

Although 599 guests were invited, only 126 indicated they would attend.

The Directorate separately hosted leaving drinks for Mr Calhoun on 26 July in his office, spending £260.44, and attended by approximately 15 guests.

To commemorate his four years’ service to the university, the former director was given three gifts; a signature book at a cost of £1052.40, a photo album at a cost of £352.50, and a photographic  copy of his own portrait.

Professor Calhoun’s 40 x 30 inch* portrait, painted this summer by world-renowned artist June Mendoza, 89, is hung in the Shaw Library beside portraits of fellow former directors.

Mendoza is recognised by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP) and normally charges £13,000 for a portrait of this size, according to pricing information on the RP website. Her commissions otherwise range between £6,000 and £18,000 per portrait, though LSE did not confirm the amount spent on Prof. Calhoun’s.

Craig Calhoun

Portrait of Craig Calhoun

The £1,000 signature book, meanwhile, was purchased blank and distributed around the School for colleagues to sign and write leaving messages, before it was gifted to Prof. Calhoun. The book came with a box in which it can be stored.

A spokesperson for LSE confirmed a farewell event for Prof. Calhoun held on June 22 “was attended by many members of the LSE community.”

They added: “The event provided an opportunity for Professor Calhoun to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of the LSE community over the four years of his tenure. It also gave colleagues an opportunity to offer their best wishes to Professor Calhoun.

“It is standard practice for LSE Directors to have their portrait painted.”

*Exact dimensions: 101.5cm x 75cm unframed

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