Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, will deliver the 2019 Commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.
Wrighton made the announcement to the Class of 2019 during the annual senior class toast April 4 in the Danforth University Center.
The university’s 158th Commencement ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 17, in Brookings Quadrangle on the Danforth Campus.
This will be the last Commencement ceremony that Wrighton will preside over as chancellor. His tenure as chancellor concludes May 31 after 24 years at the helm.
Andrew D. Martin, a Washington University alumnus and former dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, will assume the role of chancellor June 1.
During the ceremony, Bloomberg, who is the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for climate action and the World Health Organization’s global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
He will address more than 4,500 members of the Class of 2019 and their friends and family members.
“As an entrepreneur and business executive, the mayor of one of the largest and most dynamic cities in the world, and as a philanthropist who has consistently and generously invested in solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges, Michael Bloomberg is one of our most creative and innovative leaders,” Wrighton said.
“I have no doubt that he will deliver a Commencement address that will leave our graduates inspired and motivated to make their own impact on the world,” Wrighton added.
“I’m honored to be invited to address the Class of 2019,” Bloomberg said. “For generations, WashU graduates have made important contributions in every field, and today, the university’s leadership extends to one of the great challenges facing our world: climate change. I’m looking forward to being part of the graduating students’ big day.”
About Michael R. Bloomberg
Bloomberg is an entrepreneur and three-term mayor of New York City whose innovations in government and philanthropy have made him a global leader on climate change, public health, education and other critical issues facing America and the world.
Bloomberg was elected mayor just weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and under his leadership, New York City rebounded faster and stronger than expected. His administration raised high school graduation rates by 40 percent, cut crime by a third and reduced the city’s carbon footprint by 14 percent. His economic policies, which supported entrepreneurs, small businesses and emerging industries such as tech and bioscience, helped to create a record 400,000 new jobs.
His administration invested more than $3 billion in the arts and in cultural organizations, making New York City the largest funder of the arts in the country.
After leaving City Hall, he resumed leadership of Bloomberg LP, the information technology startup he launched in 1981 that revolutionized the investment industry and leveled the playing field for smaller firms. The company has grown from a one-room office into a global organization that employs nearly 20,000 people at 176 locations in 120 countries.
Bloomberg has been strongly committed to philanthropy throughout his career. His foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, employs a unique data-driven approach to its five main focus areas: public health, education, the environment, the arts and government innovation. He has given away $8.2 billion.
Bloomberg leads a number of efforts to address urgent national and international issues, including climate change, gun safety, immigration reform and infrastructure investment.
As the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for climate action, he is charged with galvanizing the efforts of governments, businesses and civil society to fight climate change. Bloomberg created “America’s Pledge,” a coalition of thousands of mayors, governors and business leaders committed to cutting carbon emissions to meet the goals the U.S. set in Paris.
The Beyond Coal campaign he formed with the Sierra Club and other partners has retired more than half of all U.S. coal plants since 2011, moving the country toward cleaner, cheaper energy.
Bloomberg is co-author, with Carl Pope, of The New York Times bestseller “Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet.”
He is also the World Health Organization’s global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases, and his foundation works on lifesaving initiatives to improve maternal and reproductive health, increase global road safety, prevent drowning deaths and more. His efforts to reduce tobacco use have saved more than 35 million lives since 2007.
This year, Bloomberg is giving $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University — the largest gift in the history of American higher education — to be used for student financial aid. The gift allows the school to permanently accept and enroll students without regard to their ability to pay.
He also formed the American Talent Initiative, a coalition of more than 100 top colleges, including Washington University, committed to enrolling more talented, lower-income students. In addition, he supports efforts around the country to expand and improve career and technical training programs in high schools.
As mayor, Bloomberg was generous with his time when Washington University’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy students met with him while on trips to New York City in 2008 and 2010 and toured Bloomberg headquarters and Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence.
Born in Boston and raised in Medford, Mass., he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Bloomberg, who lives in New York City, is the father of two daughters and has two grandchildren.