May means a slew of commencement addresses across America, as Generation Z seniors gear up for the start of their working lives.
Commencement speeches are a great academic tradition, and they often contain nuggets of wisdom for students as they embark on careers in the “real” world (Time.com has even compiled 10 of the best ever given).
Bloomberg has put together an interactive map highlighting execs in a number of key industries who will be delivering speeches this year. Here are the ones from the business and technology industries, many of whom have already given commencement speeches in the past, as excerpted below.
1. Tim Cook
Position: CEO of Apple
Giving commencement address at: George Washington University
Alma mater: Auburn University and Duke University
In 2010, Tim Cook gave the commencement address at Auburn University, his alma mater, where he discussed his career at Apple and his decision to join the company: “Working at Apple was never in any plan that I’d outlined for myself, but was without a doubt the best decision that I ever made,” Cook said, adding: “In making the decision to come to Apple, I had to think beyond my training as an engineer.”
2. Carly Fiorina
Position: Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard; Republican presidential candidate
Giving commencement address at: Southern New Hampshire University
Alma mater: Stanford University, University of Maryland and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In 2001, Carly Fiorina gave the commencement address at her alma mater, Stanford University, while still CEO of HP (HPQ): “The day I walked into HP for the first time as its new CEO it felt both utterly surprising, and surprisingly familiar,” she said. “HP is a Great Work in its own right. It is worth preserving; it is worth revitalizing. It is a company of unique values and character, with a unique relationship to this community: to Stanford, to Palo Alto, to Silicon Valley. More than that, it is a company capable of making technology and its benefits accessible to all.”
3. Ursula Burns
Position: CEO of Xerox (XRX)
Giving commencement address at: Williams College
Alma mater: New York University and Columbia University
In 2012, Ursula Burns was a speaker at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. She said during the speech: “Do your profession proud. By your choice of studies, you have entered an extraordinary community — a profession that is as old as the pyramids of ancient Egypt and as fresh as the dreams of your generation.” Burns added: “Think for a moment of any of the world’s challenges — renewable energy, hunger, disease, urban congestion, decaying infrastructure — and the answers to a large measure are found in engineering and applied science. What a remarkable time to be an engineer or scientist!”
4. Marc Benioff
Position: CEO of Salesforce.com
Giving commencement address at: University of California-Berkeley
Alma mater: University of Southern California
In 2014, Marc Benioff gave the commencement address at the University of Southern California, his alma mater. He told the graduates about his career at Oracle (ORCL), which he began two days after graduating, and about rising though the ranks there. “I was ready to make it happen. I was motivated, I was educated, I was inspired. And I had some great success there. I was the youngest VP and youngest SVP and went on and created some great products.” He added: “And then a decade went by and all of the sudden I kind of felt kind of a little bit weird. I felt unmotivated, unenergized, not very excited, not very inspired.” Taking that time off to soul-search ultimately led him to found Salesforce.
5. Ginni Rometty
Position: CEO of IBM
Giving commencement address at: Northwestern University
Alma mater: Northwestern University
In 2010, Ginni Rometty gave convocation remarks at Northwestern, her alma mater, where she is speaking once again in 2015. She reflected on her position at IBM (IBM) (she was a senior vice president at the time): “I never would have guessed, when I was sitting where you’re sitting now, that I would be fortunate enough to meet with hundreds of corporate and government leaders every year, travel millions of miles, and now lead an organization with revenues that are higher than the GDP of three-quarters of the countries in the world,” she said. “Much of what I have accomplished, I owe to this great institution. And as I sat here, 30 years ago, I don’t think I was fully aware of the great esteem in which this school is held both in this country, and around the world.”
6. Elizabeth Holmes
Position: CEO of Theranos
Giving commencement address at: Pepperdine University
Alma mater: Stanford University
Elizabeth Holmes gave her speech at Pepperdine University on May 4, which can be found in its entirety here. Holmes was the focus of a Fortune cover story in 2014, which begins:
She dropped out of school, but now enjoys the distinction as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
7. Jeffrey Immelt
Position: CEO of GE
Giving commencement address at: Siena College
Alma mater: Dartmouth College and Harvard University
In 2007, Jeffrey Immelt gave the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. “This is especially sweet because we have 400 Notre Dame alums working at GE – including 25 in the audience today, that also includes our CFO, Keith Sherin.You all worked really hard for your degrees, so me receiving this after being here for just a few hours really makes you mad,” he said.
8. Eric Schmidt
Position: Executive chairman of Google
Giving commencement address at: Virginia Polytechnic and State University
Alma mater: Princeton University and University of California-Berkeley
Google’s Eric Schmidt returned to his alma mater in 2012 to give a commencement address. He said during the speech: “People bemoan a generation who grew up living life in front of screens, always connected to something or someone. Those people are wrong. The fact that we are all connected now is a blessing, not a curse, and we can solve many problems in the world as a result.” He added: “Not only is it an advantage you have; it’s a responsibility you carry.”