Carnegie Mellon University

March 29, 2018

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:

I am delighted to announce that alumnus and trustee David A. Tepper will be the keynote speaker at Carnegie Mellon's 121st Commencement at 11 a.m., Sunday, May 20, in Gesling Stadium on our Pittsburgh campus.

David, who earned his MBA from Carnegie Mellon in 1982, is the founder of one of the world's most successful hedge funds in America and among CMU's greatest benefactors. As we prepare for the opening this fall of the David A. Tepper Quadrangle, which promises to transform the educational experience at CMU, there is no better time for him to share his perspective and experience with our graduating class.

This year's student speaker will be Kevin Wainczak, who is earning his bachelor's degree with University Honors in cognitive science with a minor in software engineering. Kevin has been an active member of the student body, serving as a resident assistant, community advisor and leader among the Greek community.

As many of you know, it is a Carnegie Mellon tradition to award honorary degrees at commencement to exemplary leaders, whose life and work serve as an inspiration for Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and staff. In addition to David, who will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Business Practice degree, this year's honorary class includes:

  • Alumnus Ted Danson (1972), an award-winning actor, will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Ted is perhaps best known for his leading role in the long-running NBC-TV comedy "Cheers." In addition to acting and producing, Ted is an environmentalist who in 2017 received Oceana's Lifetime Achievement Award for his 30 years as an oceanic environmental activist.

  • Alumna Shafi Goldwasser (1979), winner of the Association for Computing Machinery's 2012 Turing Award for her research in cryptography and security, will be awarded a Doctor of Science and Technology degree. The Turing Award is the highest honor in computer science.

  • Ada Yonath, a former postdoctoral researcher at CMU (1969) and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, will be presented with a Doctor of Science and Technology degree. Ada earned the Nobel Prize for her pioneering independent studies of the structure and function of the ribosome. 
I invite you to learn more about the speakers and honorary degree recipients on our website.

Congratulations in advance to the Class of 2018 and to these prestigious and deserving honorary degree recipients. I'm looking forward to my first commencement as president.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President's Chair
Carnegie Mellon University