Tim Cook to deliver commencement address at George Washington University, receive honorary doctorate

in General Discussion edited February 2015
It was announced on Wednesday that Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver George Washington University's commencement address at the school's graduation ceremony in May, where he will also receive an honorary doctorate of public service.

In its announcement, the Washington, D.C.-based university said students selected Cook for the role during a nominations process and noted Apple's products are ubiquitous on the school's campuses.

"I am delighted that Tim Cook has accepted our invitation to give this year's Commencement address on the National Mall," said Steven Knapp, President of George Washington University. "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."

To mark the occasion, GW prepared a short promotional video done up in the style of Apple's hallmark iPhone ads. The spot shows a staged iMessage conversation between Cook, referred to as "Commencement Speaker," and a school representative, who goes over details regarding the upcoming event. The ad aired during the halftime of a GW men's basketball game tonight and can be seen here.

GW cited Cook's contributions to human rights efforts, including the improvement of workplace conditions in China, and an ongoing quest to keep Apple environmentally friendly through its use of renewable energy sources.

Cook is no stranger to public speaking and most recently delivered a memorable address on civil rights issues at his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor in October. As part of that speech, Cook came down on his home state's slow progress on equal rights for the LGBT community, which he likened to the country's struggle with racial and gender equality.

Alongside Cook, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, and alumna Carole M. Watson, former acting chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), are to receive honorary degrees at GW's commencement. Cook's address to students is scheduled to take place on May 17.


  • Reply 1 of 8
    I wish celebrities would turn down these honorary doctorates.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,016member
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post

    I wish celebrities would turn down these honorary doctorates.

    I don't see a problem with the basic concept, universities have probably been handing them out for centuries. Hopefully the recipient will respond in a manner that brings forth something good.


    In this case, Tim Cook gets to address the graduating class and hopefully instill some wisdom/encouragement in these young people to dream/work/persevere in the pursuit for a better planet for all of us, not just a pitch for the university's scholarship fund.


    It's really up to the school administrators in choosing wisely to whom they offer these honors.


    The University of Breslau gave an honorary doctorate to Johannes Brahms in 1879. The somewhat curmudgeonly Brahms wanted to just send a simple thank-you letter, but one of his pals convinced him that the magnitude of the honor required him to write a commemorative piece. Brahms ended up writing the Akademische Festouvertüre ("Academic Festival Overture") and conducted the inaugural performance at the university himself the following year. Brahms was something of a jokester and the piece turned out to be a well-knit pastiche of German university drinking songs (to the annoyance of some in the audience, and to the amusement of a few others), basically a nineteenth-century mashup. The composition has remained one of the most popular works in Brahms' oeuvre to this day. Even a fragment of the piece makes a brief, ironic appearance in Animal House.


    So there are good things that can come from these honors.

  • Reply 3 of 8
    solipsismy wrote: »
    I wish celebrities would turn down these honorary doctorates.

    Gil Amelio has a real doctorate. Maybe he should speak at the commencement.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    Gil Amelio has a real doctorate. Maybe he should speak at the commencement.

    "Do not do as I say, nor as I did: A primer on how not to run a corporation."
  • Reply 5 of 8
    Gil Amelio has a real doctorate. Maybe he should speak at the commencement.

    LOL I'd much prefer they give a speech without getting any frivolous honors as a reward.

    Not many, but a few colleges don't give such degrees…

    PS: Did Steve Jobs ever receive an honorary degree? To me, he seems like someone that would turn down such flummery.
  • Reply 6 of 8

    @mpantone, interesting story!


    This is one of the rare occasions when someone refers to the guest of honour having a "distinguished career as a highly effective leader at the forefront of technological innovation", it is actually true!

  • Reply 7 of 8
    I would fall asleep. Everything I watch this man talk, I feel like I'm listening to the voice of a scarecrow, and it gives me hope for all the promising book smart retards in the world.
  • Reply 8 of 8

    Nice Article .I liked it.

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