It’s a tradition of which most New York academics and an increasing number of graduates of New York colleges will be aware: Charles Schumer coming to various commencement ceremonies to tell the same story. (SPOILER: he doesn’t get the girl…or the scholarship!)
I actually find it sort of endearing, to be honest. It’s short and non-pompous, at least, and certainly can’t be explained by political ambition. (He’s not up until 2016 and in any case will for all intents and purposes be running unopposed should he seek another term.) He’s not using the speeches to shake down the universities for a fee. Both he and the students seem to get a kick out of it, so why not.