Skip navigation links

April 6, 2022

NBA star, Carhartt president and auto executive to address 2022 MSU graduates

Extraordinary Spartan alumni will help celebrate the accomplishments of more than 9,200 Michigan State University graduates during the university’s commencement ceremonies on May 6.

MSU’s spring 2022 commencement will return to the pre-COVID pandemic format and will not require masks or have capacity restrictions — thanks, in large part, to the tens of thousands of Spartans on campus who have been vaccinated and boosted.

MSU alumna and Carhartt Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Linda Hubbard will help kick off the graduation season at 9 a.m., addressing the master’s and educational specialist degree recipients. She will receive an honorary doctoral degree in business.

At 1 p.m., all-time leading MSU scorer, first-round NBA draft pick and Olympic gold medalist Steve Smith will address undergraduate degree recipients during their convocation and receive an honorary doctoral degree in education.

Concluding university commencement ceremonies at 3 p.m., Ronald Goldsberry, a U.S. Army captain and former Ford Motor Co. executive, will address doctoral recipients and receive an honorary doctoral degree in science.

“MSU has a vast network of Spartans who have achieved remarkable success across the globe — a degreed alumni network more than half a million strong,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “As our next generation of Spartan alumni joins that network, they will find leaders willing to help them reach their full potential — leaders like Linda, Steve and Ronald.”

Hubbard, Smith and Goldsberry will be joined by fall 2020 and spring 2021 virtual commencement speakers, including Jennifer Gilbert, director and member of the board for Rocket Companies Inc., and founder of Amber Engine, Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Rocket Companies, and Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor, for presentation of their honorary degrees in person.

Ceremonies begin on May 5 and continue through May 14. All ceremonies will be held at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, 534 Birch Road or the Wharton Center Great Hall, 750 E. Shaw Lane. The events will be live-streamed and can be watched via MSU’s commencement website. Twitter users are invited to follow them using #SpartansWill.

For the safety of attendees, no bags or purses will be allowed in Breslin Center for commencement ceremonies. Cameras and camcorders are permitted, but cases are prohibited. No food or beverages — including bottled water — will be allowed, and this applies to graduates, guests and faculty. Breslin Center will offer a limited concessions menu during the ceremonies. Additional prohibited items include noisemakers, selfie sticks, pets, signs and weapons of any form. Breslin Center is a smoke-free facility.

Metal detectors will screen all attendees, so please plan accordingly.

Biographies of the speakers and honorary degree recipients are below.

Ronald Goldsberry

Ronald Goldsberry is the former Global Vice President and General Manager of Global Customer Service Operations and Vice President of Global Business Strategy for Ford Motor Co., where he is credited with actualizing Ford’s worldwide aftermarket and service business strategies that aided in Ford’s success. Goldsberry also has dedicated his life to public service, having served as a U.S. Army captain and giving of his time on the boards of directors of multiple corporations, including the Detroit Financial Advisory Board, the Rockefeller Foundation, Automotive Hall of Fame, MSU Foundation and numerous other prestigious foundations.

Goldsberry earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Central State University, an MBA in finance and marketing from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from MSU.

Linda Hubbard

Linda Hubbard is the president and chief operating officer of Michigan-based workwear company Carhartt Inc. and is responsible for leading the development and execution of the company’s business plan and all corporate operations. She also serves on its board of directors as secretary/treasurer and director. Hubbard also serves on the board of directors of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the board of directors for Hibbett Sports and has been an active alumna of MSU, most recently serving as past president on the Eli Broad College of Business Advisory Board and participating in the university’s presidential search that welcomed President Stanley to campus.

Hubbard received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Eli Broad College of Business at MSU, is a certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant.

Steve Smith

Steve Smith is a sports analyst with Turner Sports/NBA TV, CNN and the Big Ten Network. He also serves as the vice-chairman of the NSORO Education Foundation, helping provide education to youth aging out of foster care. Prior to his work with the foundation, Smith was a first-round NBA draft pick for the Miami Heat. He earned several awards for his accomplishments in the NBA, including receiving a championship ring with the San Antonio Spurs, a gold medal during the 1994 FIBA World Championships and a second gold medal as part of the 2000 U.S. Olympic basketball team in Sydney, Australia.

Smith earned a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies in social science from MSU in 1991.

Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert is the founder and chairman of Rocket Companies Inc., a Detroit-based company that provides simple, fast and trusted digital solutions for complex transactions. Gilbert also is the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest mortgage lender; the founder and chairman of the Rock Family of Companies, a portfolio of technology businesses and real estate investments; and chairman of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association.

Dan Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree from MSU in 1983 in telecommunications and a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University.

Jennifer Gilbert

In addition to serving as a director and member of the board for Rocket Companies, Jennifer Gilbert is the founder of Amber Engine, a home furnishings services and solutions technology company. She also founded POPHOUSE, a Detroit-based design studio focused on creating strategic, unconventional and human-centric spaces. Additionally, Jennifer Gilbert is president of NF Forward and serves as chair of the Board of Governors of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum.

Jennifer Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree from MSU in interior design in 1990.

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.

By: Dan Olsen

Media Contacts