MSUToday
Published: March 16, 2017

Kirk Gibson to speak at MSU commencement

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709 Kristen.Parker@cabs.msu.edu

Detroit Tigers legend Kirk Gibson will speak at Michigan State University’s undergraduate convocation on May 5.

He will also receive an honorary doctorate of humanities.

In addition, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, will speak at the advanced degree ceremony, where he will receive an honorary doctorate of humanities.

Convocation will be held at 1 p.m. and the advanced degree ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m., both at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, 534 Birch Road. The convocation will be live streamed and can be watched via MSU’s commencement website.

Also at convocation Susan Avery, an atmospheric physicist, will receive an honorary doctorate of science. In addition, Joon-shik Shin, chairperson and founder of Jaseng Hospital of Korean Medicine, will receive an honorary doctorate of science.

At the advanced degree ceremony, Dermot Desmond, chairperson of International Investment and Underwriting in Dublin, Ireland, will receive an honorary doctorate of humanities.

“From athletics to philanthropy to medicine and science, our commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients are visionary leaders who will inspire our graduates as they move on to the next stage of their lives,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Spartans strive to affect positive change at home and around the world, and it gives us great pride to host this year’s honorees.”

Tickets are not required for either of the free public events. Twitter users may follow both ceremonies using #msugrad17.

Consistent with Breslin Center policy, all bags will be subject to search. No food or beverages – including bottled water – will be allowed into Breslin Center, and this applies to graduates, guests and faculty participating in the ceremonies. As such, Breslin will offer a limited menu of concessions for sale one hour prior to the start of ceremonies and during the first hour of ceremonies. Additional prohibited items include large cameras, recording devices, noisemakers, sticks, pets, signs or weapons of any form. Smoking also is prohibited at the Breslin Center.

There is construction at the Breslin Center and in the immediate area. The Hall of History (southeast) entrance is closed, but all other entrances are open.

Parking in the Breslin Center area is very limited, so the public is encouraged to use the free shuttle service. Buses are accessible.

Bios of the speakers and honorary degree recipients follow.

Gibson
Spartan superstar Kirk Gibson has achieved international fame and earned a place among the greatest athletes in American sports history. During a career marked by spectacular success in Major League Baseball and NCAA Division I Football and Baseball, he became a two-time World Series Champion, National League Most Valuable Player, American League Championship Series MVP, American League and National League All Star, and National League Manager of the Year.

At MSU, Gibson helped the Spartans tie for a Big Ten football championship, was named an All-American and set conference and MSU records, with 122 career catches for 2,347 yards and 24 touchdowns. Earlier this year he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. He was also an All-American in baseball, batting .390 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in 48 games.

Playing for the Tigers in Game Five of the 1984 World Series against the Padres, Gibson hit the winning home run. In 1988, with the Dodgers, he was named National League MVP and starred in one of the greatest moments in World Series history. In Game One against the Athletics, hobbled by injuries to both legs, Gibson was sent in as a pinch hitter. With a runner on, two outs, and a full count in the bottom of the ninth, he homered and added “Kirk Gibson” to the annals of baseball legends.

Gibson completed his career with the Royals, Pirates, and Tigers – and then became a coach and manager for the Tigers and Diamondbacks. In 2015, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Today, he is an analyst for Fox Sports Television, where his extraordinary life continues to inspire people throughout Michigan and across America.

Walker
Darren Walker leads the nation’s second largest philanthropy and for two decades he’s been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

In fact, he led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Walker served as vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he managed the Rebuild New Orleans Initiative after Hurricane Katrina.

In the 1990s, as chief operating officer of Harlem’s largest community development organization, the Abyssinian Development Corp., Walker oversaw a comprehensive revitalization program of central Harlem, including more than 1,000 new units of housing.

Walker is a member of the Commission on the Future of Riker’s Island and serves on the boards of Carnegie Hall, New York City Ballet, the High Line, the Arcus Foundation and PepsiCo. And he chairs the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.

An alumnus of University of Texas at Austin, Walker received the university’s “Distinguished Alumnus Award.” In 2016, TIME magazine named him to its annual list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Walker is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of 10 honorary degrees and university awards.

Avery
Susan Avery is president emerita of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, having served in the leadership role there from 2008 to 2015.  She currently is senior fellow of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and Visiting Distinguished Faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In 2017 she was elected to the board of directors of ExxonMobil.

Avery is an atmospheric scientist with research interests in atmospheric circulation and precipitation, climate variability and water resources and the development of new radar techniques and instruments for remote sensing.

Prior to joining the institution, Avery served on the faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder as director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, where she facilitated new interdisciplinary research efforts spanning the geosciences and incorporating social and biological sciences. From 2004 to 2007 she served in interim positions as vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school, as well as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Avery’s recent professional service includes the United Nations Science Advisory Board and advisory committees for the U.S. Global Change Research program, the Sustained National Climate Assessment, NASA, National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Meteorological Society, for which she also served as president. 

An MSU alumna, Avery also holds a master’s degree and doctoral degree from the University of Illinois.

Shin
Joon-shik Shin chairs the largest hospital specializing in non-invasive treatment of spine and joint disorders in Korea.

Known throughout the world as a pioneer in integrating Eastern and Western medicine, he also founded the Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute.

Shin has been significantly involved in the training of students and physicians as well as promoting research initiatives through the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, the MSU Institute of International Health, the American Osteopathic Association and the Michigan Osteopathic Association.

He holds a Korean medicine doctorate from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea, and has written 29 books on intervertebral disc disorders and general health. In addition, Shin has published several key research papers in international journals and acquired 24 Korean patents and three U.S. patents.

Shin’s contributions to the medical profession have been recognized in Korea with three Presidential Commendations; the Grand Prize in Korean Medicine Field at the Korea Health Industry Award; the Ministry of Health and Welfare Commendation for Research and Publications and many other awards.

Desmond
Dermot Desmond founded International Investment and Underwriting, based in Dublin, Ireland, in 1995. 

Through his private investment company he has a substantial number of investments in a variety of businesses worldwide, including Celtic Football Club, Sandy Lane Hotel Barbados, Glossy Bay Marina in Canouan, Titanic Quarter in Belfast, Rietumu Bank in Riga, Kennady Diamonds and Mountain Province Diamonds. In 2000, Desmond established Daon, a company that designs, develops and markets secure biometrics and identity software technology systems. Daon’s headquarters is based in Washington, D.C.

Previously, Desmond founded National City Brokers in 1981, which he developed into Ireland’s leading independent stockbroker. In 1987 he promoted the establishment of a financial services center in Ireland. Today it is a vibrant part of the Irish economy and is host to half the world’s top 50 banks and top 20 insurance companies. 

In 1995, Desmond was invited to become chairperson of a charity called “Respect” for one year. The charity was being set up by the Daughters of Charity to raise funds to develop its services to people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Today he still holds that role.

Desmond is the recipient of many accolades over the years from Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast, Irish Chamber of Commerce USA and most recently he was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

In addition, Desmond is a trustee of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

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