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  • Priceline founder to give commencement address; St. Francis CEO to speak at Graduate School commencement

Priceline founder to give commencement address; St. Francis CEO to speak at Graduate School commencement

March 15, 2013

Jeff Hoffman, a founding team member of Priceline.com, will give the keynote address at the Bradley University commencement ceremony on May 18 in the Peoria Civic Center. The ceremony begins at 9:15 a.m.

Hoffman has launched, grown and sold companies in e-commerce, entertainment and the Internet, with his most well known endeavor being the Priceline.com family of companies. After Priceline, he founded and served as chairman and CEO of Black Sky Entertainment, an independent production company in the film and music industries.

“We are pleased to have Jeff Hoffman speak at commencement as an inspiration to our graduates,” said Joanne Glasser, president of Bradley University. “With his extensive experience as an entrepreneur, he can offer important advice about following their passion and their dreams. Coinciding with Bradley’s newly created Turner School for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, it is fitting that renowned entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman will deliver this year's commencement keynote address.”

Last fall Bradley unveiled the Robert and Carolyn Turner School for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a stand-alone school open to students in any academic discipline. The academic structure and offerings of the Turner School are unique in higher education.

Several of the thriving startup companies Hoffman founded have become publicly traded companies; others were successfully sold to larger corporations. For his efforts, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Entrepreneurship from the National CEO Council in 2010, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Entrepreneurs by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization that same year.

Hoffman’s first startup was a software company in the travel industry named CTI, a company that quickly became the industry leader in technology for the travel and tourism industry, and it was later acquired by American Express. He also founded and served as CEO of the early e-commerce pioneer Virtual Shopping, Inc., which developed patented, proprietary software and hardware for online retailing on the Internet and was later acquired by Europe’s Wallenberg Group. He has been featured on Fox News, CNN, CNBC and other networks, and featured in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine and more.

Steffen to address Graduate School Commencement

Keith Steffen, president and CEO at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, will give the keynote address at the commencement ceremony for the Bradley Graduate School on May 16 in the Renaissance Coliseum on campus. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m.

Steffen came to OSF in 1980 as vice president of operations and was named CEO in 1996. He oversaw the development of the $280 million Milestone project that was completed in July 2010. A year later, ground was broken on the $50 million Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center that opened on the St. Francis campus in April of 2012; the facility provides simulation training for all medical clinicians. A U.S. Army veteran, Steffen earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in hospital administration from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Steffen is a member of the Illinois Hospital Association Board of Trustees, the Illinois State University College of Business Advisory Council and the CEO Council, and he is on the board of directors of Children’s Hospital of Illinois and Saint Francis College of Nursing.

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center is the fourth-largest medical center in Illinois. A major teaching affiliate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, it is the area’s only Level I Trauma Center, the highest level designated in trauma care. It serves as the resource hospital for emergency medical services for north-central Illinois. It is home to Children’s Hospital of Illinois and the Illinois Neurological Institute.

Bradley is a top-ranked 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. Its size provides students with extensive resources not available at most private colleges and the personal attention not commonly found at large universities.