American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault to speak at commencement

By Collegian News Staff

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Kenneth Chenault, CEO and chairman of American Express, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s University of Massachusetts undergraduate commencement ceremony, which is set to take place on May 10.

Chenault will also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, according to a University release. An honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters is typically awarded to individuals who have distinguished records in making contributions to society. Chenault, who joined American Express in 1981, has risen through the ranks over the decades, assuming the role of CEO in 2001, according to the release.

Also at the undergraduate ceremony, two UMass alums will receive Distinguished Achievement Awards, which “recognize high accomplishment in a given field or profession and notable contributions to society,” according to the release. The recipients are textbook author, educator and philanthropist Elaine Marieb and Charles Perrell, investor and principal at Perrell Ventures, the release stated.

Graduating hospitality and tourism management student Adam Schultz, of Sudbury, is set to deliver the student speaker address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony, according to the release.

About 5,500 graduating seniors are expected to attend the 2013 undergraduate commencement ceremony, which is set to take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. That same day, the graduate commencement ceremony will take place at the Mullins Center at 9 a.m., where about 1,200 candidates are expected to receive master’s and doctoral degrees. The Stockbridge School will be holding its commencement ceremony for its approximate 100 graduates, who will receive associate degrees of science, May 11 at 10 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium.

At the graduate commencement ceremony the University will award Hank Porten an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Porten has been the president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and its affiliates for the past 28 years and is set to retire this summer, according to a hospital press release.

The University release added that 11 graduates will be recognized as “21st Century Leaders” at the undergraduate commencement ceremony, with four students being honored as Jack Welch Scholars for “their leadership and executive ability.”