Stanford Graduation Brings Tim Cook To Podium
PALO ALTO, CA — Stanford's school year filled with a college admissions scandal, breakthroughs, championships and innovation including a robot dog all comes to a peak with the graduation of the best and brightest in academia Sunday.
The commencement festivities begin on Thursday for the university, with the ceremony scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sunday with Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.
The banner time for one of the nation's most prominent universities brought back a stellar memory for Palo Alto Chamber Executive Director Judy Kleinberg. When her daughter graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996, the commencement speaker called in sick and the replacement was none other than Steve Jobs. His daughter attended the same class and school.
Kleinberg described a little nugget of a funny antic Jobs was known to provide.
"He told the class that they 'don't have to listen to their parents anymore,'" Kleinberg said, chuckling.
Jobs was indeed an unconventional person with an advanced mind that sometimes broke with tradition.
Regardless, Palo Alto is expected to be ground zero this week for parents, relatives and friends to descend on for Stanford University's end of year tradition. The event is said to bring on an uptick in business and possibly traffic — especially combined with World Music Day shutting down University Avenue between High and Webster streets. The thought is that not only do family members drive around the city, but more Uber and Lyft vehicles are probably more prominent as well.
"All the hotels sold out way ahead of time. And all the best restaurants have sold out ahead of time. Just try to get a reservation on table," she said.
Combine the occasion with Father's Day, and the Silicon Valley will come alive with family time set against a backdrop of nostalgia and new beginnings in a challenging yet exciting stage of entering the workplace (unless a gap year is in order.)
For those who relish the idea of being sent off into the world of technology while maintaining their principles, Stanford secured the chief of the world's most valuable company to address the graduating class to carry on the 128-year tradition.
"Tim Cook has spoken forcefully of the challenges and responsibilities confronting corporations and our society today," Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said. "In tackling these, he has led with vision and values – qualities that reflect the culture of our Stanford community, and that are top of mind for our students and our country. Tim was a natural choice to challenge and encourage our graduates as they leave our campus and find their own paths in the world."
Cook joined Apple in 1998, and the company's board of directors named him CEO in August 2011. He has used his position as one of the world's most prominent executives to speak up on privacy mixed with advancement amid emerging technology.
Stanford Senior Class Presidents Tashrima Hossain, Nick Peña, Tony Moller and Aron Tesfai announced their excitement over such a prominent speaker who presents a model citizen, LGBTQ advocate and business guru to send off their collective of students into the working world.
"It's an honor to have been invited by Stanford's students and faculty, and I look forward to deepening the remarkable relationship that Stanford and Apple have built together over many years," Cook said. "We share so much more than geography. The passion, interests and creativity our institutions have in common have helped to revolutionize technology and reshape the world, and I can't wait to join graduates, as well as their family and friends, in celebrating the even brighter possibilities of the future."
Last year, Cook was again named to Fortune's World's 50 Greatest Leaders list. He has also been named Person of the Year by the Financial Times and honored with the Newseum's Free Speech Award for using his position to take a public stand on important social issues. In April 2018, observing the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference presented the Alabama native with its Keeper of the Dream Award for Human Rights.
Stanford's commencement ceremony is part of a weekend-long celebration for graduates, with the ceremony to be held in Stanford Stadium.
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