Carnegie Mellon University
May 03, 2011

Media Advisory: Aron Ralston, Carnegie Mellon Alumnus and Subject of Film "127 Hours," To Give Keynote Address at Carnegie Mellon Commencement, May 15

Honorary Degree Recipients Include Distinguished Alumni and Business Leaders

Contact: Teresa Thomas / 412-268-2900 /

Event: Aron Ralston (E'97), whose amazing and heroic story of survival is the subject of the film "127 Hours," will be the keynote speaker at Carnegie Mellon University's 114th commencement, Sunday, May 15. Pinned by a half-ton boulder in a Utah canyon for nearly a week, Ralston had to choose between his hand and his life. He chose survival — amputating his own limb, rappelling 65 feet and hiking seven miles to rescue.

Carnegie Mellon's Commencement also features the presentation of honorary degrees. This year's eight honorary degree recipients, listed below, showcase the extraordinary accomplishments of Carnegie Mellon alumni and the global reach of the university through its research and education partnerships.
  • Craig R. Barrett, retired chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the Intel Corporation, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree. He will speak at the Heinz College diploma ceremony.
  • School of Drama graduates will enjoy the comments of legendary Hollywood producer Steven Bochco (A'66), who will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree and speak at the drama diploma ceremony.
  • Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Inc., will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree. Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for more than 25 years and is considered to be one of the most successful and innovative owners in the sport. 
  • Richard (Rick) Rashid, senior vice president for Microsoft Research, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree. A former computer science professor at CMU, Rashid will be the keynote speaker at the doctor's hooding ceremony (Saturday, May 14) and the School of Computer Science diploma ceremony.
  • Dr. David Servan-Schreiber (CS'89,'90), clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Diagnosed with brain cancer at age 31, Servan-Schreiber authored the international bestseller "Anticancer: A New Way of Life," which promotes an integrative approach to prevent and treat cancer.
  • Rafael Rangel Sostmann has been president of the Tecnológico de Monterrey System since 1985 and will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The vast Tecnológico de Monterrey System is a private, non-profit institution with four educational and research arms.
  • The honorary Doctor of Business Practice degree recognizes the accomplishments of David S. Steiner (E'51), who has a long and distinguished history as a real estate developer. He is chairman of Steiner Equities Group, LLC.
  • Oliver Williamson (TPR'63), the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics and Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, will receive an honorary Doctor of Economics and Organization degree. Williamson will speak at the Tepper School's master's degree diploma ceremony on Saturday, May 14.
Nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred at this year's commencement.
For more information on Ralston, visit

For a schedule of events taking place during commencement weekend, visit

When: 11 a.m., Sunday, May 15 (rain or shine)

Where: Gesling Stadium, Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus

Note to reporters: Media planning to attend Sunday's ceremony should contact Teresa Thomas at 412-260-0516 or Ken Walters at 412-480-4396 for instructions on seating and/or photography. Please remember that the Pittsburgh Marathon will go through Oakland on Sunday.