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Apple CEO Tim Cook to Deliver George Washington University Commencement Address

Dr. Watson, Mr. Cook and Dr. Fauci
Dr. Watson, Mr. Cook and Dr. Fauci
Anthony Fauci and Carole Watson to Receive Honorary Degrees
February 25, 2015
Maralee Csellar:, 202-994-7564
Candace Smith:, 202-994-3566
WASHINGTON (Feb. 25, 2015)— Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the George Washington University's Commencement address before graduates on May 17. He will also be awarded an honorary doctorate of public service from the university. Mr. Cook, whose invitation was suggested by GW students during the nominating process, has led the world's most admired company since 2011 and overseen the development of Apple products, which are ubiquitous on GW’s campuses and in the lives of its students.
“I am delighted that Tim Cook has accepted our invitation to give this year’s Commencement address on the National Mall,” said George Washington University President Steven Knapp. “I know our graduating students will be inspired and enlightened by his reflections on the lessons he has garnered from his distinguished career as a highly effective leader at the forefront of technological innovation.”
Mr. Cook recently announced the next chapter in Apple’s story with new service and product categories, including Apple Watch, Apple’s most personal device ever and one that instantly captured the world’s imagination. He has continued to help improve conditions for workers who make the company’s products, advance human rights and increase charitable giving, and he is overseeing a company-wide effort to use 100 percent renewable energy at all Apple facilities.
Mr. Cook was the Financial Times' Person of the Year for 2014, and in 2012 he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He joined Apple in 1998, and prior to being named CEO he served as chief operating officer. Previously, he was an executive at Compaq, now part of Hewlett-Packard Co., Intelligent Electronics and IBM. Mr. Cook earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and an M.B.A. from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar.
In addition to Mr. Cook, both Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, and Carole M. Watson, Ph.D. ’78, former acting chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), will receive honorary degrees at GW’s Commencement.
Dr. Fauci is an internationally recognized HIV/AIDS researcher and infectious disease expert. He serves as an advisor to the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues and emerging infectious disease threats. He has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body’s defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections. Dr. Fauci has been director of NIAID since 1984 and has lectured at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences multiple times. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2008.
Dr. Watson, an alumna of GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, held various roles at NEH across several decades. In 2014, Dr. Watson organized “Standing Together,” an NEH initiative to help Americans understand the experiences of service members as they return to civilian life. Dr. Watson is also recognized for her participation in a 1958 sit-in at Dockum Drug Store in her hometown of Wichita, Kansas, which led to the desegregation of the entire chain to which the store belonged.
GW Commencement is held on the National Mall and this year’s ceremony will take place on the grounds of the Washington Monument. In addition to the all-university Commencement ceremony, individual schools and colleges will hold ceremonies May 14-17.
Previous GW Commencement speakers include award-winning actress and alumna Kerry Washington; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; First Lady Michelle Obama; Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama; former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton; and humanitarian and world-renowned chef José Andrés.
Additional Resources:
  • Click here for Apple’s biography and official photo of Mr. Cook
  • Click here and use access code Gw22515 for Web-quality photos of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Watson
  • Click here for photos and video of GW’s 2014 Commencement
In the heart of the nation’s capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.