Larry Gies announced as commencement speaker

By Jose Zepeda, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Larry Gies, philanthropist and alumnus of the University, will be the campuswide commencement speaker for graduation 2019.

Gies is the founder and CEO of Madison Industries, a Chicago-based, international manufacturing company. He graduated from the University in 1988.

In 2017, Gies and his wife, Beth, who is also an alumna of the University, gave a $150 million donation to the College of Business. The college changed its name to the Gies College of Business following the donation.

Gies said he hopes he can create a message that sticks with students for years to come. He considers the commencement speech to be his most daunting speech yet.

“The opportunity to speak at graduation is an honor,” Gies said in a press release. “My hope is that I can give them something meaningful to take with them in the future — a message that will resonate and stick with them for many years.”

Through his commencement speech, Gies is looking to encourage students to “find your way.” He said he wants each student to find their purpose in life.

“We’re extremely proud to have Larry Gies serving as our 2019 commencement speaker,” said Chancellor Robert Jones in the press release. “His story is an example of how an Illinois education can make a difference, and I know it will inspire our students to make their own impact on the world.” 

The commencement speech will take place at 9:30 a.m. on May 11 at Memorial Stadium.

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