UW-Madison: Jon Huntsman to speak at UW-Madison commencement

CONTACT: Allison Golden, 608-890-1238, [email protected]

MADISON – Jon M. Huntsman Jr., former governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to both Singapore and China, will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s combined commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17.

“I am honored to welcome Jon Huntsman to campus as our commencement speaker,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “He has been successful in multiple roles, as a governor, an ambassador and as a business leader. As the Class of 2014 looks toward the next chapter of their lives, I am eager to hear the advice he will share.”

This year’s spring commencement exercises mark the start of a new tradition. Instead of holding multiple ceremonies for undergraduates and most master’s degree candidates, these graduates will celebrate in a single ceremony held at Camp Randall Stadium, 1440 Monroe St.

Huntsman will speak at this combined ceremony, scheduled to begin at noon.

“The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the premier institutions of higher education in the world,” says Huntsman. “Those in the graduating class of 2014 will make contributions to bettering our lives in ways that today we can’t even imagine. I consider it a great honor to be a small part of sending them off to conquer the opportunities ahead.”

Huntsman began his career in public service as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He has since served four U.S. presidents in critical roles around the world, including ambassador to Singapore, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for Asia, U.S. trade ambassador and, most recently, U.S. ambassador to China. He ran as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination until leaving the race in January 2012.

Twice elected as Utah’s governor, Huntsman brought about strong economic reforms, tripled the state’s rainy day fund and helped bring unemployment rates to historic lows. Recognized by peers for his service, Huntsman was elected as chair of the Western Governors Association, serving 19 states throughout the region.

Huntsman’s business leadership is also well known from his time at the helm of Huntsman Corp., the multi-billion dollar chemical company founded by his father. The hands-on experience he gained over three decades helped make Huntsman Corp. a strong family business with deep philanthropic connections.

Huntsman has served as a visiting fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as a distinguished lecturer at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he has also received seven honorary doctorate degrees.

He currently serves on the boards of Ford Motor Company, Caterpillar Corporation, Huntsman Corporation, the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he serves as a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution, a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a trustee of the Reagan Presidential Foundation, chair of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and chair of the board of the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Commencement speakers are selected and recommended by senior class officers.

“When selecting a commencement speaker, we looked for a respected leader with a positive track record of public service, someone who has shown a commitment to bipartisanship,” says Andrew Bulovsky, senior class vice president. “As a global statesman with a diverse breadth of government experience, I hope he shares his thoughts on the value of finding common ground with others.”

Sarah Neibart, senior class treasurer, concurs.

“Gov. Huntsman truly embodies the Wisconsin Idea through his distinguished career as a public servant,” says Neibart. “He has encouraged common-sense and pragmatic solutions in Washington which have increased citizen involvement in our government. I hope he helps reinforce the sense of camaraderie within our campus.”

More information about commencement weekend – including parking, school and college ceremonies, and answers to many frequently asked questions – is available online at commencement.wisc.edu, by phone at 608-263-2400 or by email at [email protected]
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– Susannah Brooks, 608-262-3846, [email protected]