Top techies giving 2017 college commencement speeches

Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, MIT nab big names from technology circles


Tomorrow's leaders

With today’s push across the education landscape for more emphasis on STEM studies, it’s not surprising that top leaders and innovators in technology would be a draw as college commencement speakers. Here’s a roundup of some of the bigger names.

Meg Whitman

Carnegie Mellon University, May 21

The Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO has a wealth of experience running big high tech companies to share with CMU grads. She led HP from 2011-2015, then oversaw the spinout of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP, Inc. into separate entities. Previously, she headed up eBay from 1998-2008.


George Washington University

Tim Cook

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 9

Hey, maybe the Apple CEO will reveal the 10th anniversary iPhone at the MIT graduation ceremony! Nah, that’s not going to happen, but Cook should have a few good stories to tell about succeeding Steve Jobs and fighting the good fight on the social front as well in his role as Apple’s leader. “Mr. Cook’s brilliance as a business leader, his genuineness as a human being, and his passion for issues that matter to our community make his voice one that I know will resonate deeply with our graduates,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif gushed. Cook in 2015 delivered the commencement address at George Washington University.


Mark Zuckerberg

Harvard University, May 25

This famous 2005 Harvard dropout will return to Cambridge to share his wisdom, and perhaps snuff out some of the stories about the Facebook CEO from his days on campus that have been Hollywood-ized. Fellow Harvard dropout Bill Gates gave the commencement address at Harvard in 2007.


Sheryl Sandberg

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, May 12

Facebook’s COO since 2008 has become even better known as author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” She’s now working on another book, titled “Option B,” that delves into coping with loss, as she and her family have done in the wake of her husband dying in 2015.


Walter Isaacson

College of William and Mary, May 13

Author and journalist Isaacson, whose works include the biography Steve Jobs as well titles such as “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,” will share lessons learned during a career of writing. Isaacson now serves as head of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan forum on leadership and ideas.


Reshma Saujani

Scripps College, May 13

Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2012 and is the national nonprofit organization’s CEO. She’s also author of the leadership-themed book “Women Who Don’t Wait in Line.” Saujani began her career as an attorney and activist.