Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will deliver the main address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree when the University of Michigan presents its spring commencement at 10 a.m. April 30 at Michigan Stadium.
Also being honored with honorary groups is an eclectric group, from filmmaker Spike Lee to Pulitzer Prize-winning political commentator Eugene Robinson to William Clay Ford Jr.
Snyder was inaugurated at Michigan’s 48th governor Jan. 1. Honorary degrees for Snyder and five additional recipients have been recommended by the Committee on Honorary Degrees, subject to approval by the Board of Regents at its March 17 meeting.
It is customary for the university to extend an invitation to a newly elected governor to receive an honorary degree and provide the commencement address. The university community is honored that Snyder was able to accept the invitation and looks forward to his address, President Mary Sue Coleman says.
“As a Michigan alumnus and the state’s chief executive, Governor Snyder is uniquely positioned to tell our graduates about the challenges and rewards of leadership. We look forward to his message, and to presenting honorary degrees to the exceptional individuals who will join us in celebrating the Class of 2011,” Coleman said.
The Committee on Honorary Degrees has recommended that honorary degrees also be awarded to:
* Vernon Ehlers, former congressman and physicist, Doctor of Laws.
* William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors, Ford Motor Co., Doctor of Laws.
* Shelton “Spike” Lee, film director, producer and writer, Doctor of Fine Arts.
* Eugene Robinson, journalist and author, Doctor of Humane Letters.
* Stephen Ross, chairman, CEO and managing partner, The Related Companies, L.P., Doctor of Laws.
The commencement speaker traditionally is chosen by the president of the university on the basis of suggestions that arise in several ways, including the honorary degree process. The president generally makes the decision following consultation with others, including the Board of Regents.