Commencement Speaker Announced
- Erik Jacobs
- Claire Gardiner
David M. Rubenstein, known for his business success and patriotic philanthropy, will give the keynote address at the College’s 233rd Commencement on May 21.
David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest alternative investment firms, will provide the Commencement Address at Washington College’s 233rd graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 21. Known for his investment acumen as well as his philanthropic leadership, Rubenstein will also receive an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.
“We are pleased and honored that David Rubenstein has accepted our invitation to serve as this year’s commencement speaker,” says College President Sheila Bair. “David is well known for his tremendous business success. But he is also a generous philanthropist, with a longstanding commitment to higher education, as well as a distinguished American historian. Given our College’s own unique place in the history of this country and emphasis on citizen leadership, I can’t think of a more fitting person to inspire our students than David Rubenstein.”
Rubenstein grew up in Baltimore as the son of a postal worker and homemaker, and went on to a law career that led him to the highest echelons of government and business. A graduate of Duke University and University of Chicago Law School, he began his career in private law practice, and served in senior positions in the U.S. Senate and Carter Administration. In 1987, he co-founded Carlyle, which has grown into a firm managing approximately $200 billion from 40 offices around the world.
Joining Rubenstein at the commencement ceremonies will be the best-selling author and historian, Joseph Ellis. One of the nation’s leading scholars of American history, Ellis will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters. The author of nine books, Ellis won the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation and won the National Book Award for American Sphinx, a biography of Thomas Jefferson. His in-depth chronicle of the life of our first president, His Excellency: George Washington, was a New York Times bestseller.
The day before commencement, on Friday, May 20, Rubenstein and Ellis will team up for a symposium in Decker Theatre on the role of philanthropy today and in American history. Rubenstein will open the symposium with remarks entitled “Patriotic Philanthropy.” Following Rubenstein’s remarks, Ellis will lead a Q&A session. The event mirrors a lively conversation the duo enjoyed during last year’s National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., when Rubenstein guided questions about Ellis’ latest book, The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789.
“I am thrilled that David and Joe, who had such a spirited discussion with one another at the National Book Festival, will flip the stage here at Washington College and talk about the tradition of giving in American history and the role of patriotic giving today as governments grapple with challenging budgetary environments,” Bair says. “This is a particularly apt topic for Washington College as we were founded with the help of a personal donation from George Washington of fifty guineas, a significant sum at the time.”
The symposium will begin Friday, May 20, at 4 p.m. in Decker Theatre at Washington College’s Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts. It is free and open to the public. Commencement, held on the campus lawn, begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 21.