Ford CEO and president Alan Mulally will be the featured speaker at Kansas University’s commencement this year, breaking a long trend of having chancellors deliver the KU address to graduates.
Though Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will still address KU’s graduates during the ceremony in a “farewell to the Class of 2012,” Mulally will be the featured speaker.
“KU has educated countless individuals who have gone on to become world-renowned leaders. As they walk down the Hill and into the world, it’s fitting for graduates to hear from one of those leaders, Alan Mulally, who after earning two KU degrees has gone on to do great things,” Gray-Little said in a written statement.
Mulally earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1968 and a master’s degree in 1969 from KU. He has been CEO and president of Ford since 2006, before which he was executive vice president of The Boeing Co. and president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Mulally is one of four honorary degree recipients who will be recognized during the commencement ceremony. The others are former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Sheila Bair, former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole and composer Kirke L. Mechem.
Susan Kemper is a distinguished professor of psychology who served as the chair of the committee that vetted nominations for honorary degree recipients. She said she was pleased with Mulally’s selection to speak.
“It was the chancellor’s choice, but how could she have gone wrong?” Kemper said.
KU is accepting nominations for its next set of honorary degree recipients, and a link is available on the chancellor’s website.
KU’s 140th commencement ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 13.