Chairman of Ford Motor Company to give commencement address
March 13, 2012
Peoria, IL (March 9, 2012) - William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, will present the keynote address at the Bradley University undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 12 at the Peoria Civic Center. He will be awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony.
Mr. Ford, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, joined the corporation’s Board of Directors in 1988 and has been its chairman since January 1999. He serves as chairman of the board's finance committee and as a member of the sustainability committee. He also served as chief executive officer of the company from October 2001 to September 2006, when he was named executive chairman.
“Bill Ford is a preeminent American business leader and a visionary whose breadth of experience in his industry and commitment to his community will inspire our graduates and their families,” said Joanne K. Glasser, president of Bradley University. “I am pleased that Bradley continues to attract nationally prominent speakers to mark this important milestone in our graduates’ lives.”
Mr. Ford joined Ford Motor Company in 1979 as a product planning analyst and subsequently held a variety of positions in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and finance. He was elected chairman and managing director of Ford Switzerland in 1987. As head of Business Strategy for the Ford Automotive Group in 1990, he helped develop guidelines for establishing low-volume manufacturing plants in emerging markets.
A lifelong environmentalist, Mr. Ford is committed to increasing shareholder value by developing products that please customers and benefit society. Under his leadership, the company published its first corporate citizenship report outlining the economic, environmental and social impact of company products and operations around the world in 2000. In 2004, the company completed the world’s largest brownfield reclamation project, the restoration of its Ford Rouge Center in metropolitan Detroit. He also championed the Ford Escape Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle.
Mr. Ford is vice chairman of the Detroit Lions professional football team and led efforts to build a new, environmentally friendly stadium in Detroit that was the site of Super Bowl XL. Through Detroit Lions Charities, he helped develop the Detroit Police Athletic League youth football program into one of the largest in the country. He is Chairman of the Board of the Detroit Economic Club, a member of the Board of Trustees of The Henry Ford Museum and the Board of Directors of eBay Inc., and Chairman of the New Michigan Initiative of Business Leaders for Michigan. He also is a founding partner of Fontinalis Partners, LLC, a Michigan-based investment firm that acts as a strategic operating partner to transportation infrastructure technology companies around the world.
Mr. Ford holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and a Master of Science degree in management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also completed a course of study as an Alfred P. Sloan fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Bradley is a private, independent university in Peoria, Illinois, offering 6,000 students the choice of more than 100 academic programs. Bradley links academic excellence, experiential learning and leadership development with an entrepreneurial spirit for a world-class education. Our size provides students extensive resources not available at most private colleges and the personal attention not commonly found at large universities.