Larry Page to deliver commencement address

By Kyle Swanson, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 19, 2009

Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, will be the speaker at this spring’s commencement ceremony, University President Mary Sue Coleman said in an interview yesterday.

Page, a University alum and current president of products for Google, will deliver the commencement address at this spring’s ceremony on May 2.

If approved by the Board of Regents at its monthly meeting Thursday, Page will also receive an honorary doctorate in engineering when he speaks at the ceremony.

“Celebrating the accomplishments of the class of 2009 will be all the more special with Larry Page as our speaker,” Coleman said. “In a relatively short period since his own graduation from Michigan, he has made a meaningful and lasting contribution to society.”

A native of East Lansing, Page was influenced by his parents and began his fascination with computers when he was six years old. Page’s father, Dr. Carl Page, also a University alum, taught computer science at Michigan State University for more than 25 years, before his death in 1996. Larry Page’s mother, Gloria, worked as a database consultant.

During his time at the University, Page served as the president of the University’s chapter of Eta Kappa Nu — the national honor society for electrical and computer engineering students — and was a member of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society.

Page graduated with honors from the University in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. He continued his education at Stanford University, where he earned his master's degree and began a Ph.D. program. It was there that Page met Sergey Brin and together they founded Google in 1998.

Page served as Google’s founding CEO for three years before assuming his current role in 2001. Page also serves on the company’s board of directors and was named the 14 wealthiest American by Forbes Magazine.

Coleman described Page as a role model for University students and said she has been thinking of him as a potential commencement speaker for some time.

“I think he’s just the epitome of the kind of student that we produce at Michigan that goes on to change the world,” Coleman said.

Coleman added that she felt very fortunate to have Page delivering the commencement address.

“It’s incredibly wonderful,” she said. “The stars just aligned and we were able to get on his calendar and he thought it was just a wonderful opportunity himself.”

There is no word on what Page will discuss in his address, although when he delivered the College of Engineering graduation address in 2005, he talked about a broad range of issues, including Google's mission and innovation in the workplace, and told students to save the world by building their dreams.