Stanford may not be getting its campus in NYC, but we may have just gotten the next best thing: Mayor Michael Bloomberg for our 2013 Commencement Speaker.
For the second year in a row, Stanford’s senior class has pulled in a mayor from the Northeast with a national presence. In Bloomberg’s case, that presence is also global. Bloomberg has been mayor of New York City since 2001, presiding over a city that reeled from the wounds of 9/11, benefitted from a boom in financial services, and then reeled again from a financial crisis that set off the greatest recession in generations. He has been a passionate advocate for action on the defining issues of our day, including gun control, immigration reform, education reform, poverty, public health, and climate change. Furthermore, in an era of heightened partisanship, he has stood out as a cost-cutting moderate with a liberal streak.
Most of our readers likely know that Bloomberg went from a middle-class upbringing to becoming one of America’s richest men, an unabashed hero of capitalism at a time of increasing inequality and decreasing social mobility. However, he is also a noteworthy philanthropist, having pledged to give away his entire fortune to charity. He graduated with a B.A. in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins in 1964 and received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1966. Over his wide-ranging career, he founded the technology and media company Bloomberg LP, which today has over 310,000 subscribers and 15,000 employees.
Bloomberg’s term in office ends this year. Thus, as this class of seniors leaps into the great abyss of the future, it will get a send-off from a self-made man who is also about to embark on his next great journey. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say, and to end my time at Stanford with a little of my native Northeast!