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Press Release

New York City Mayor Bloomberg to Speak at Bard College Commencement Saturday, May 26

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College will hold its one hundred forty-seventh commencement on Saturday, May 26, 2007. At the commencement ceremony, Bard President Leon Botstein will confer 342 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2007 and 137 graduate degrees, including master of fine arts; doctor of philosophy and master of arts in the history of the decorative arts, design, and culture; master of arts in teaching; master of arts in curatorial studies; master of science in environmental policy; and master of science in environmental studies. The program, which begins at 2:30 p.m. in the commencement tent on the Seth Goldfine Memorial Field, will include the presentation of honorary doctoral degrees. The commencement address will be given by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters laws degree. Honorary degrees will also be awarded to physiologist and writer László Z. Bitó '60, constitutional law scholar and former Stanford University President Gerhard Casper, historian Barbara J. Fields, youth advocate William E. Milliken, and author and professor Azar Nafisi. Other events taking place during commencement weekend include class reunions; a concert by Bard student soloists and composers with the American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein, conductor; and the granting of Bard College awards for 2007. The Bard Medal will be presented to Ruth Schwartz Schwab ’52; the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science to Dr. Gabrielle H. Reem and Dr. Herbert J. Kayden; the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters to Christopher Claremont ’72; the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service to Elizabeth Royte ’81; and the Mary McCarthy Award to Cynthia Ozick. ABOUT THE COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER Michael R. Bloomberg is the 108th mayor of the City of New York. He was born on February 14, 1942, and raised in Medford, Massachusetts, where his father was the bookkeeper at a local dairy. Mayor Bloomberg’s thirst for information and fascination with technology were evident at an early age, and led him to Johns Hopkins University, where he parked cars and took out loans to finance his education. After graduation, he gained an MBA from Harvard and in the summer of 1966, he was hired by Salomon Brothers to work on Wall Street. He quickly advanced through the ranks, and became a partner in 1972. Soon after, he was supervising all of Salomon’s stock trading and sales and, later, its information systems. He was fired in 1981 after another company acquired Salomon. Bloomberg used his stake from the Salomon sale to start his own company, an endeavor that would revolutionize the way that Wall Street does business. As a young trader, he had been amazed at the archaic nature in which information was stored. When he needed to see how a stock had been trading three weeks ago, he had to find a copy of the Wall Street Journal from the date in question, and the records system consisted of clerks penciling trades in oversize ledgers. So, he created a financial information computer that would collect and analyze different combinations of past and present securities data and deliver it immediately to the user. In 1982, Bloomberg LP sold 20 subscriptions to its service; 20 years later, Bloomberg LP has over 165,000 subscribers worldwide. As the business proved its viability, the company branched out and in 1990 Bloomberg LP entered the media business, launching a news service, then radio, television, Internet, and publishing operations. Nearly 20 years after its founding, Bloomberg LP now employs more than 8,000 people—including 2,500 in New York City—in more than 100 offices worldwide. As the company enjoyed tremendous growth, he dedicated more of his time and energy to philanthropy and civic affairs. His desire to improve education, advance medical research, and increase access to the arts has provided the motivation for much of his philanthropy. He funded relief programs for victims of domestic violence in New York City, sponsored the Children’s Health Fund’s mobile medical unit, which serves the children of homeless families, and supported construction of new athletic fields at city high schools throughout the five boroughs. He also served on the boards of 20 different civic, cultural, educational and medical institutions, including the High School for Economics and Finance; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund; S.L.E. (Lupus) Foundation; and Prep for Prep. The mayor served as the chairman of the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins University until May 2002. Recently, the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health was renamed The Bloomberg School of Public Health, a tribute to his leadership and use of philanthropy to improve the human condition. In 1997, Michael Bloomberg published his autobiography, Bloomberg by Bloomberg. All of the royalties from sales of the book are donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists. (4/24/07)

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This event was last updated on 06-01-2007