2011 College Commencement Speakers, Part II

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Last week, we shared our initial list of 2011 college commencement speakers, giving details where President Barack Hussein Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, former president William Jefferson Clinton and other notable people will be speaking. Students at the University of Michigan, Babson College, the University of Northern Iowa and other schools will get to hear words of encouragement from influential Americans and world leaders.

Our list was far from complete, but we didn’t want to saturate you with too much information all at once.  Since then, we’ve learned about other college commencement speakers and are sharing that information with you today:

University of South Carolina — Outgoing U.S. ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, will be speaking to Gamecock grads on May 7. Huntsman, a Republican, has been rumored as a candidate for president and will also be commencement speaker on May 20 at Southern New Hampshire University. Both states have early primaries.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — Environmentalist E.O. Wilson will address Tarheel grads on May 8 at Kenan Stadium. Wilson is widely known within the scientific community for fathering the field of sociobiology — a field that intertwines several scientific disciplines to explain the social behavior of species.

Eureka College — Likely Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will speak to Eureka grads on May 14. The school’s most famous alum was Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. The school, however, does not endorse political candidates.

University of California Berkeley — UCal Berkeley has invited one of its own to address the class of 2011 at its commencement exercise on May 14. Dr. Paul E. Jacobs is chairman of Qualcomm’s board of directors and is the company’s chief executive officer. Jacobs secured his undergraduate degree from Berkeley in 1984, his master’s in 1986 and his doctorate in 1989.

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering — Jeff Hawkins, who developed many popular computer products including the PalmPilot, Visor and Treo families of handheld computers and communicators, will be in Needham, Mass., on May 15 to address Olin grads. In 2005, he co-founded Numenta, a startup company whose technology is based on neocortical theories.

Ave Maria School of Law — U.S. Senator Mark Rubio was elected to represent Florida in the Senate in November 2010 and is considered to be one of the more dynamic political figures of our day. Rubio has been named as Ave Maria School of Law commencement speaker on May 15 at The Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples.

University of Pennsylvania — This Ivy League school is welcoming actor Denzel Washington to speak to its grads on May 16 at Franklin Field. Washington is an Academy Award and Tony Award winning actor and director of “Antwone Fisher” and “The Great Debaters.”

Washington University in St. Louis — Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, a human rights activist and Holocaust survivor will be speaking to Washington University grads on May 20 in St. Louis.  At age 15, Wiesel and his family were deported from what is now Romania to Auschwitz, where his mother and younger sister died. Wiesel’s talk is titled, “Knowledge and Ethics.”

Rochester Institute of Technology — On May 20, R.I.T. will be sending its grads out to help change the world and has invited Brian L. Hinman to address grads. Hinman is a venture partner at Oak Investment Partners, executive chairman of GreenVolts, Inc., and executive chairman of Aurora Algae, Inc. Hinman is co-founder and former president and CEO, of 2Wire, a provider of broadband service platforms for the DSL market.

Lehigh University — Ellen Kullman, chair and chief executive officer of DuPont, will address Lehigh grads on May 23. Kullman guided DuPont through the financial crisis of 2008, and has been widely acclaimed by the business community for her collaborative approach to employees, managers and businesses.

We’ll bring out a fresh list of speakers in coming weeks. Feel free to include your school’s information by leaving a comment.

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Categories: Campus News