Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su spoke at MIT's PhD hooding ceremony.
Photo credit: Aaron Pressman
By Aaron Pressman
June 9, 2017

It’s graduation season, and in Boston, that’s often a big deal. This year, we got Facebook’s (fb) Mark Zuckerberg speaking at Harvard and going on a grand tour of his old stomping grounds. And today, Apple (aapl) CEO Tim Cook speaks at MIT’s ceremonies. Cook is expected to start his speech around 10:50 a.m. ET and you can watch a live stream here.

I was at MIT yesterday, however, to watch another tech industry CEO, Lisa Su of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (amd). Su, who has an undergraduate, masters and PhD from MIT, spoke at the doctorate hooding ceremony. That’s the seemingly ancient tradition of giving each PhD graduate a multi-colored hood to hang over their light grey and maroon MIT academic robes.

Su may be a CEO, but she’s also an engineer through and through, and she admonished the graduates to apply themselves to the world’s toughest problems, as graduation speakers are often wont to do. But at a time when science seems to be under attack in some political quarters, the 47-year-old executive also urged them to set their sights higher and vie for leadership roles. “The world is starving for new ideas and great leaders who will champion those ideas,” Su said.

Oh, and the executive who likes to describe herself as “slightly competitive” also had some advice about who should be in charge. “Make sure there are lots of Harvard MBAs working for MIT PhDs in the future,” she said.

Aaron Pressman

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