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April 26, 2017

Villanova announces Michael Bloomberg will speak at 2017 commencement

Villanova University announced Wednesday that former New York City mayor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg will speak at this year's commencement on May 19. 

The selection was made by University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue after thorough review process that emphasized finding a speaker whose accomplishments can resonate with graduates. Bloomberg's media organization last year ranked Villanova's School of Business best in the United States. 

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"[During the] selection process, we sent out a notification back in the summer to everyone on campus and as well as the alumni base to nominate people for honorary degrees or honorary degree plus commencement speaker,” Donohue told the student-run Villanovan

Bloomberg, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School, was among those who emerged as a top preference on the list. His invention of the Bloomberg terminal, a computer software system for the financial service sector, led to the creation of his technology startup in 1981. The company has since gone global and grown to more than 19,000 employees in 73 countries. 

In 2001, Bloomberg was elected mayor of New York City, where he served three terms that saw a 40 percent rise in the city's high school graduation rate, a reduction in crime by a third, and the introduction of a various public health and environmental policies. His Bloomberg Philanthropies is committed to supporting public health, education, the environment, the arts and government education.

As preparation for the event, Bloomberg is expected to speak with a cross-section of a the graduating class in order to best address and encourage their future endeavors. 

Villanova will also give Bloomberg a Doctor of Humane letters degree and awarding additional honorary degrees to  Anne Welsh McNulty, Father Wally Kasuboski and Friar Irwin Medway.