Schools, Colleges Announce Speakers for 2016 Convocations
May 4, 2016
The College of Law will hold a separate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13, at which U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be the featured speaker.
Following are the schools’ and colleges’ convocation speakers:
- School of Architecture—Critically acclaimed architect Annabelle Selldorf G’87 will address the graduates. She founded architectural design practice Selldorf Architects in 1988. The firm has worked on public and private projects that range from museums and libraries to a recycling facility, and at scales encompassing large new construction, historic renovations and exhibition design. Clients include such cultural institutions and universities as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Neue Galerie New York, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and Brown University.
- College of Arts and Sciences—Kevin Bell ’74, one of this year’s honorary degree recipients, will speak at the College of Arts and Sciences convocation. Bell is the president and CEO of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoological Society, and has served there in various roles for 40 years. In 1999, he was elected to the board of directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In 2005 he received the President’s Award for raising more than $1 million in funds for zoos and aquariums affected by Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, he was selected as one of three U.S. delegates to serve on the board of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
- School of Education—David Essel ’79, nationally known for his work as a motivational speaker, life-coach and author, will present the School of Education convocation address. Essel started his career as a fitness motivational coach, went on to produce health and fitness videos, host national television and radio shows and write nine self-help books. His newest book, titled “Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life, But This Book Will,” was just released. Once called “Mr. Motivation,” Essel continues his career as an inspirational coach, reaching national and international corporations, professional athletes and celebrities.
- College of Engineering and Computer Science—Edward Cettina ’87, chief operating officer of the Americas for AECOM’s building construction business, will speak at the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s convocation. Cettina has worked in the construction industry in a variety of progressive roles for his entire professional career. In his current role, he oversees operations and business development across the western, central, northeastern and southeastern regions of the U.S.
- David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics—Floyd Little ’67, one of this year’s honorary degree recipients, will speak at Falk College’s convocation. During his time at Syracuse University, Little set the Orange record for career touchdowns and career punts returned for a touchdown. He was a three-time All American and the 1966 ECAC Player of the Year. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. Upon graduation in 1967, Little played for the Denver Broncos for nine years. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. After his retirement from professional football, Little graduated from University of Denver’s College of Law and went on to complete an executive management training program with Ford Motor Co. He excelled in the business, becoming one of the most successful and well-respected Ford dealers in the industry, serving as president and owner of Pacific Coast Ford and as a consultant and instructor for Ford’s Minority Dealers Program. At the time of his retirement from the company in 2009, he was the longest-tenured minority dealer in the Ford portfolio.
- School of Information Studies—Ken Bouyer, director of inclusiveness recruiting at Ernst and Young, will be the speaker for the School of Information Studies’ convocation ceremony. Bouyer is a lifetime member and a current corporate advisory board member of both the National Association of Black Accountants and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting organization. He is a past board member and international president of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. Bouyer has also served on the board of directors for the Federation for the Schools of Accountancy, and is a recipient of its Practitioner Service Award for his distinguished service to the profession of accounting and accounting education.
- Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs—Catherine Bertini, professor of public administration and international affairs in the Maxwell School and distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, will give the school’s graduate convocation address. She has had a long, distinguished career as a leader in international organization management and reform; humanitarian relief; and nutrition policy. She served for two years as a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and prior to that served as United Nations under secretary-general for management, as executive director of the UN World Food Program and as assistant secretary for food and consumer services at USDA. The student speaker will be Mirjakhon Turdiev, who has focused his executive M.P.A. program on policy development and leadership issues for the promotion of empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream society.
- S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications—Stacey Mindich ’86, Tony Award-winning producer, will speak at the Newhouse convocation. Mindich was recently named one of Variety’s Entertainment Elite. She is the recipient of the 2016 Robert Whitehead Award for Excellence in Commercial Producing. Noteworthy productions include the Tony Award-winning “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “The Bridges of Madison County” (Tony Award, Best Score), “Annie,” “The Heiress,” “Lucky Guy,” “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” “The Lion” (Drama Desk Award) and this season’s much-anticipated “Hughie.”
- College of Visual and Performing Arts—Alan Dye ’97, Apple’s vice president of user interface design, will deliver the 2016 convocation address to the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Dye, who reports to CEO Tim Cook, joined Apple in 2006 as creative director with the Marketing Communications team, following previous design lead roles at Kate Spade and Ogilvy & Mather. Before joining the User Interface team, Dye led global design efforts across all aspects of communications, from identity and packaging, through retail and interactive experiences. In 2012, Dye joined Jonathan Ive’s team to lead the User Interface group responsible for the design of iOS 7, iOS 8 and watchOS. Dye’s team continues to develop innovative experiences across all of Apple’s products, and their work has been recognized with numerous design awards.
- Martin J. Whitman School of Management—The speakers for the Whitman School’s convocation will be John Petosa, professor of accounting practice, named Faculty Member of the Year for the graduate program; Kanique Swinson ’16, president of Whitman student government; and Dyland Weinberger ’16 and Justin Hilgart ’16, Whitman School class marshals.
- University College—Award-winning columnist Sean Kirst will give the keynote address at University College’s Commencement Ceremony. Kirst is a longtime Upstate writer, journalist and storyteller. He was an award-winning columnist with The Syracuse Post-Standard for many years; in 2009, he was named winner of the Scripps-Howard Foundation's Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing, given to one journalist nationally each year for highlighting the dreams and struggles of everyday people. He is the author of "The Ashes of Lou Gehrig" and co-wrote "Moonfixer," the autobiography of Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association.