Michael Bloomberg to Speak at Penn Commencement; Honorees Include Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust

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Media Contact: | | February 19, 2008

PHILADELPHIA –- Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg, L.P., will deliver the address at the University of Pennsylvania's 252nd Commencement on Monday, May 19.

Bloomberg, now in his second term as mayor, is credited with reducing crime and creating jobs in the nation’s most populous city while embarking on a series of ambitious environmental and public-health initiatives.

PHILADELPHIA –- Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg, L.P., will deliver the address at the University of Pennsylvania's 252nd Commencement on Monday, May 19.

Bloomberg, now in his second term as mayor, is credited with reducing crime and creating jobs in the nation’s most populous city while embarking on a series of ambitious environmental and public-health initiatives.

”We are honored that Mayor Bloomberg has agreed to speak at Penn’s 252nd Commencement,” President Amy Gutmann said. “His remarkable achievements as a highly successful entrepreneur, noted philanthropist and tireless public servant stand, in the tradition of Penn’s founder Ben Franklin, as an inspiration to us all. We believe our graduates will benefit greatly from his wisdom and insights.”

Bloomberg graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University before earning an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. After rising through the ranks of the financial firm Salomon Brothers, he created Bloomberg, L.P., the financial-information company.

As his company expanded to locations in 130 cities worldwide, Bloomberg turned more of his attention to philanthropy. A member of the boards of numerous charitable, cultural and educational institutions, he helped build the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.

He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the Penn Commencement.

Other honorary degree recipients will be:

Paquito D’Rivera –- Born in Cuba, he is a nine-time Grammy Award-winning composer, clarinetist and saxophonist who founded the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna. D’Rivera also founded and co-directed the innovative ensemble Irakere, a jazz, rock, classical and traditional Cuban ensemble that played to audiences worldwide. He will be awarded an honorary doctor of music degree.

Drew Gilpin Faust –- Faust became Harvard’s first female president on July 1, 2007. A noted historian, teacher and author, she is the Lincoln Professor of History at Harvard and was the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Prior to going to Harvard, Faust was the Annenberg Professor of History as well as Women’s Studies Program director at Penn. She will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Lila R. Gleitman –- A giant in the fields of linguistics and psychology, Gleitman is a professor emerita at Penn and co-founder of the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. Her work, focusing on the structure, processing and acquisition of language, has to come to define the field of language learning and continues to inspire the work of others at Penn. She will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

Bert W. O’Malley –- The Tom Thompson and Distinguished Service Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, O’Malley’s research on the primary actions of steroid hormones and nuclear receptors has led to molecular understanding of how hormones and hormonal antagonists work. The results have impacted endocrinology, reproduction, genetic disease and endocrine cancers. He will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

Cyril Ramaphosa -– A leader in South Africa’s transition from apartheid, Ramaphosa has served his nation as a brilliant negotiator and public servant. In 1991, he was elected secretary general of the African National Congress, serving as the head of the ANC team negotiating with the apartheid government. In 1994, he became a member of Parliament and chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly. He remains a national executive member of the ANC and is executive chairman of Shanduka Group, a black-owned and managed investment company. He will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Neil deGrasse Tyson –- An astrophysicist who makes science accessible, Tyson is the first holder of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. He has served on the Advisory Council of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and was part of the commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, dubbed the "Moon, Mars and Beyond" commission. A columnist for Natural History magazine, he is the host of the PBS series “NOVA scienceNOW.” He will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

Additional information about the 252nd Commencement ceremony is available at 215-573-4723 or www.upenn.edu/commencement.

The Office of the University Secretary coordinates the honorary degree selection process at Penn.

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