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Dec. 3, 2020

Fall 2020 commencement ceremonies to be held virtually

Three alumni giving speeches

More than 2,600 Michigan State University graduates will be recognized Dec. 18 and 19 at fall 2020 semester commencement ceremonies. All ceremonies will be held virtually and streamed on the MSU commencement website. Graduate names will be scrolled on the screens at the end of the ceremonies. 

“I am incredibly proud of these students for not only completing their degrees but doing so under such difficult circumstances,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “It is fitting to have three highly accomplished alumni serving as our keynote speakers. They remind us of the impact we can have on the world as Spartans.” 

Todd Penegor, president and CEO of The Wendy’s Co., will be keynote speaker for the master’s degree ceremony on Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. A graduate of the Eli Broad College of Business, Penegor grew up in Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where his father was a Wendy’s franchisee.

Marta Tienda, professor of sociology and public affairs and the Maurice P. During professor in demographic studies at Princeton University, will address doctoral degree recipients on Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. The daughter of Mexican migrant laborers, she has focused her career on academic activism on behalf of disadvantaged populations everywhere.

Former MSU men’s basketball star and current member of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Draymond Green, will address baccalaureate degree recipients on Dec. 19 at 10 a.m.

Brief biographies of the speakers are below.

Draymond Green

Green grew up in Saginaw, Mich., and earned a bachelor of arts in communication from MSU in 2012. While playing at MSU, Green helped the Spartans earn two Final Four appearances and a Big Ten Tournament championship in 2012. He is a three-time NBA champion and a three-time NBA All-Star. In 2017, Green won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Todd Penegor

Penegor became president and CEO of The Wendy’s Co. in 2016 after joining the organization in 2013 as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Prior to that he held various leadership positions with the Kellogg Co. and Ford Motor Co. Penegor serves on the board of trustees of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and as a member of the Eli Broad College of Business financial advisory board.

A Michigan native, Penegor earned a bachelor of arts in accounting in 1987 and an MBA in finance in 1989, both from MSU.



Marta Tienda

Tienda joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1997. She previously held appointments at the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Tienda’s research has focused on the demography of racial and ethnic inequality, social policy and international migration. In addition to lecturing about underinvestment in public education, she directed a decade-long study focused on equity and access to higher education.

Tienda earned a bachelor of arts in Spanish from MSU in 1972 and was a member of the Honors College. She earned masters and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.

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