Michael R. Bloomberg to Deliver Spring Commencement Address
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Former NYC Mayor to Speak at Campus-wide Ceremony
The University of Maryland announced yesterday that Michael R. Bloomberg, the successful entrepreneur and three-term mayor of New York City who has become one of the nation’s most prominent philanthropists and advocates on gun violence, climate change, public health and other issues, will deliver the university’s spring commencement address on May 24. Bloomberg will address thousands of graduates, family and friends during the ceremony at the Xfinity Center.
“It is an honor to speak at the commencement of one of America’s top public universities—especially one that has been such a leader on sustainability and climate change,” said Bloomberg. “I have strong ties in Maryland and I look forward to addressing all the Terps on their big day.”
Bloomberg founded a startup tech company, Bloomberg LP, in 1981. By building desktop computers and connecting them to an intranet he created that provided real-time financial data and news, he revolutionized the investment industry and leveled the playing field for smaller firms. The company has grown from a one-room office to nearly 20,000 employees in more than 120 countries.
In 2001, he was elected as the 108th mayor of New York City, just weeks after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. During his three terms, New York City saw an increase in high school graduation rates, a decrease in crime and a reduction in the city’s carbon footprint. The city also became the largest funder of arts and culture in the nation.
As chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership group from 2010–13, Bloomberg helped focus international attention on cities’ leading role in combating climate change. He currently serves as the United Nations’ secretary-general’s special envoy for climate action, and in 2017, he and California Gov. Jerry Brown launched “America’s Pledge,” an initiative to compile and quantify the actions of states, cities, and businesses committed to driving down their greenhouse gas emissions, to reach the goals America set under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Bloomberg co-authored the 2017 bestselling book, “Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet,” with Carl Pope, the former executive director the Sierra Club. As the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases, Bloomberg is helping to advance the WHO’s push to reduce premature NCD deaths by one-third by 2030 and to halve the number of road deaths and injuries by 2020.
“Mr. Bloomberg's successful innovation in business, public service and civic engagement represents an extraordinary role model for our students and graduates on this Do Good campus,” said university President Wallace D. Loh. “He has shown himself a true champion of higher education, the environment, and public health. We welcome him."
Bloomberg Philanthropies was created with five focus areas that speak to his passions: the arts, education, the environment, government innovation and public health. The foundation uses a data-driven approach to foster global change, rooted in Bloomberg’s experiences as an entrepreneur and mayor. To date, Michael Bloomberg has given more than $6.4 billion to a variety of initiatives that transform lives every day, including to support need-blind undergraduate university admissions.
He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1964, paying his tuition by taking out loans and working as a parking lot attendant. He served as chairman of the Hopkins Board of Trustees from 1996–2001, and in 2001, the university renamed its School of Hygiene and Public Health—the largest public health facility in the U.S.—“the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,” to recognize Bloomberg’s unprecedented commitment of energy to the field of global public health. Bloomberg went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1966.