"Ladies and gentleman, I have just enjoyed the wonders of Chicago traffic jams," the former president joked. "I apologize for being late, but you were more comfortable than I was, if it makes you feel any better."
If that mouthful of an event title didn’t give it away, the summit is designed to help colleges find ways to reduce carbon emission and get funding for their plans.
Many wondered if the former president would comment on his wife's admonishment of a Congolese student earlier this week. He didn't, staying on message like the diplomat he is.
"Anything that any of you can do with the senators and representatives from your home state, to demonstrate, through what you are doing on your campuses, that there are economically beneficial ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will be extremely helpful in the coming weeks, as the Congress considers the climate change legislation that the President and the Secretary of State desperately need before the Copenhagen climate conference in December," Clinton said.
The U.S. House passed a bill by a slim margin in June. The Senate will take it up next month.
Clinton is an advocate of climate change and gives talks as part of the Clinton Climate Initiative. Approximately 250 higher education leaders were expected to attend Thursday's summit.