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The University of Michigan’s winter commencement speaker will be Hendrik (Hank) Meijer, executive chairman of Meijer Incorporated. Commencement will be held Dec. 15 at the Crisler Center.
Meijer is the grandson of Hendrik Meijer, the original founder of Meijer Inc., a superstore retail chain founded and headquartered in Michigan. Hank Meijer became CEO of Meijer Inc. in 2001, and then became co-CEO and co-chairman in 2003. A U-M alum, Hank Meijer graduated in 1973 with a degree in literature. From 1973 to 1979, Hank Meijer was a journalist, and his passion in the years following his graduation revolved around historical research and writing.
Hank Meijer is the author of two biographies: a biography of Arthur Vandenberg, a U.S. senator from Michigan during the mid-20th century, and a biography of his grandfather and namesake, Hendrik Meijer, titled “Thrifty Years: The Life of Hendrik Meijer.” In addition to delivering a speech, Meijer will receive an honorary Doctor of the Science of Law degree.
The University also announced that it will be honoring four additional honorary degree recipients. Lawrence Brilliant, founder of an international nonprofit to fight blindness, president of a fund to combat global threats and a former executive at Google, will be receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters. Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president and chief executive officer of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund will be awarded a Doctor of the Science of Law. Kenneth Fischer, Doctor of Fine Arts, president emeritus of the University Musical Society and a recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts. Janet L. Yellen, an economist and former chair of the Federal Reserve and the White House Council of Economic Advisers will be awarded a Doctor of Laws.