News Release: People, University News

Feb. 19,  2010

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to Speak at Emory Commencement May 10

News Article ImageArnold Schwarzenegger

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will deliver the keynote address at Emory University's 165th commencement ceremony Monday, May 10. He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's achievements in athletics, film and politics have made him a household name throughout America and the world. His career in public service and his commitments to inner-city youth and sustainable energy resonate with the strategic vision of Emory University. The governor's rise from modest circumstances through hard work and study offers an exemplary ethic for graduating seniors," says Emory President James W. Wagner, who will preside over the ceremony for about 3,600 graduates.  

Four other individuals also will be recognized during commencement with honorary degrees:

  • Donald M. Berwick, M.D., president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and one of the nation's leading authorities on health care quality and improvement, who will receive a doctor of science degree;
  • award-winning author Melissa Fay Greene, who will receive a doctor of letters degree;
  • The Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, longtime civil rights leader, who will receive a doctor of divinity degree; and
  • former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn, chairman of Wolfensohn & Company, LLC, who will receive a doctor of humane letters degree.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Governor, Athlete and Actor

Schwarzenegger is serving his second term as governor of California after being first elected in the state's historic 2003 recall election. Among his accomplishments in his first six years in office is the passage of the nation-leading Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a bipartisan agreement to combat global warming by reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions. Schwarzenegger also has worked to make major investments in improving California's aging infrastructure through his Strategic Growth Plan, helping to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. He established the Hydrogen Highway and Million Solar Roofs Plan, and under his leadership, California recently passed the Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010.

The world-famous athlete and actor was born in Austria in 1947, and at 20 became the youngest person ever to win the Mr. Universe title. He came to America shortly after, winning an unprecedented 12 more world bodybuilding titles. He earned a degree from the University of Wisconsin and became a U.S. citizen in 1983. Three years later he married broadcast journalist Maria Shriver.

Schwarzenegger has been an advocate for physical education and after-school programs, and as governor, he has worked to increase funding for such programs. In 1990, former President George Bush appointed Schwarzenegger chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He also served as chair of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Gov. Pete Wilson. Schwarzenegger and his wife have remained closely involved in Special Olympics, an organization founded by Shriver's mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Emory has had a long-time engagement with the Georgia Special Olympics, which the university has hosted annually on its campus for more than 20 years.

Schwarzenegger's accomplishments have earned him honors from a variety of organizations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center's "National Leadership Award" for his support of the organization's Holocaust studies. Schwarzenegger was the only actor to be in both categories of the American Film Institute's Hundred Years of Heroes and Villains. In 2002, Schwarzenegger received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award. Schwarzenegger currently holds honorary doctorates from the University of Southern California and his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

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