MSU’s commencement speakers exemplars of service to nation, world
Contact: Kristin Anderson, University Relations, (517) 353-8819, firstname.lastname@example.org
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Three individuals who have made significant contributions to societies at home and abroad through humanitarian and government service and business will share their insights and experiences at Michigan State University’s commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6.
All commencement ceremonies will be held at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center.
Commencement speakers Bernard B. Kerik, who most recently served as Iraq’s interim minister of interior and administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq, and former New York City police commissioner and principal member of the mayor’s cabinet overseeing the rescue, recovery and investigation of the World Trade Center attack; U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the first woman from the state of Michigan elected to the U.S. Senate; and Lewis W. Coleman, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and an internationally known figure in the banking industry, will receive honorary degrees at commencement ceremonies.
“Each of the commencement speakers epitomizes what it means to be a public servant on behalf of their community, state and nation,” said MSU President Peter McPherson. “Our graduates, who will very shortly become engaged citizens of new communities, will hear from leaders in their respective professions who have contributed to the understanding of what it means to be a citizen of a global society.”
Stabenow, who will speak at the 10 a.m. undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, will receive an honorary doctor of laws. Stabenow, a Lansing resident and MSU graduate, has supported MSU in several research-based initiatives, including food safety research.
Students in the colleges of Arts and Letters, Education, Human Ecology and Social Science, as well as the James Madison College and The Eli Broad College of Business, will attend this ceremony.
Kerik, who will speak at the 2 p.m. undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, will receive an honorary doctor of humanities. He currently is the chief executive officer of Giuliani-Kerik LLC, an international risk management firm in New York City. He most recently served as Iraq’s interim minister of interior and senior policy adviser to the U.S. presidential envoy and administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq.
Students from the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science and Nursing will attend this ceremony.
Coleman, who will speak at the 7 p.m. advanced-degree ceremony on Friday, will receive an honorary doctor of business. Coleman, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in San Francisco, has been active in the banking industry and international finance for 37 years
Biographies of the speakers follow:
LEWIS W. COLEMAN
Lewis. C. Coleman, a San Francisco native, is the president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The organization was created to seek and develop outcome-based projects that will improve the quality of life for future generations in the areas of higher education, the environment, science and select San Francisco Bay Area projects.
He is known as an individual who brought new ideas and energy to the world of domestic and international finance.
After 23 years with the Bank of California and Wells Fargo & Co., Coleman moved to Bank of America where he was head of its Capital Markets Group and its World Banking Group before becoming vice chairperson of the board and chief financial officer. He was one of the key officers who engineered Bank of America’s turnaround from near bankruptcy in the early 1990s. During the mid-1990s he worked in Montgomery Securities.
In December 2000 he resigned as chairperson of Banc of America Securities, a subsidiary of Bank of America Corp, to head the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Coleman serves on the boards of Northrop Grumman, Chiron Corp. and the Komatsu International Advisory Board. He is active in various environmental groups. He served as a board member of the California Academy of Sciences, Conservation International and is a national director of Trout Unlimited. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.
BERNARD B. KERIK
Bernard B. Kerik, chief executive officer of Giuliani-Kerik LLC, an international risk management firm, most recently served as Iraq’s interim minister of interior and senior policy adviser to the U.S. presidential envoy and administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq. Kerik was responsible for the reconstitution and development of Iraq’s 120,000-member interior ministry including police, border enforcement and emergency management services.
He served 16 months as New York City’s 40th police commissioner under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and was a principal member of the mayor’s cabinet overseeing the rescue, recovery and investigation of the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
Kerik also served as the first deputy and commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, earning international recognition after creating a management and accountability program that received honors from the Innovations in American Government Award program sponsored by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
He began his professional career as a dog handler in the U.S. Army’s military police corps, serving in Korea. He trained Special Forces and Special Operations personnel at the JFK Unconventional Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg, N.C. After working in various security assignments in the Middle East, he went on to serve as commander of special weapons and operations and as warden of the Passaic County Jail in New Jersey before starting his career with the New York City Police Department.
Kerik has earned more than 100 awards for meritorious, heroic and public service throughout his career, including the New York City Police Department’s Medal for Valor and a presidential commendation for heroism from President Ronald Reagan. Queen Elizabeth of England honored him with an honorary appointment as Commander of the Most Excellent Royal Order of the British Empire.
He authored his autobiography, “THE LOST SON: A Life in Pursuit of Justice.” He served on the Terrorism Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and as chairperson of the New York State Athletic and Boxing Commission.
Kerik, who holds a bachelor of science degree in public administration from Empire State College, State University of New York, attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Leadership Program for the 21st Century at Harvard. He serves as a member of the Criminal Justice Advisory Council of St. John’s University.
Debbie Stabenow was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. She serves on the Senate Budget Committee; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging.
Prior to her election to the Senate, she served for four years in the U.S. House of Representatives, four years in the Michigan State Senate, 12 years in the Michigan House of Representatives and four years on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners. She worked with youth in the public schools before running for public office.
Stabenow is the author of a federal ban on drilling for oil and gas in Michigan’s Great Lakes, and legislation requiring inspection of Canadian trash trucks crossing Michigan’s borders.
The senator has supported MSU in the areas of federal funding for university-based research, including agricultural research, biomedical sciences, engineering and physical sciences and behavioral sciences.
Through her leadership on the House Agriculture Committee, she authored legislation that made food safety research a national priority. She also has worked for federal support of medical graduate education training for both nurses and physicians. She continues to be a strong advocate for federal student financial aid assistance in order to provide access to any student who is academically qualified to attend college.
She authored more than 50 public acts as a state legislator and has been recognized with more than 50 awards for her leadership, including the U.S. Jaycees Outstanding Young American Award. She also has been recognized by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the National Association for Home Care.
A Michigan native, Stabenow was born in Gladwin and raised in Clare. She received her bachelor’s degree in social science and her master’s degree in social work from MSU. She resides in Lansing with her husband, Tom Athans. She has two children, Todd and Michelle.