The Undergraduate Commencement Featured Speaker for 2023 was Steve Shyn!
Steve Shyn is a dynamic and accomplished individual with a passion for entrepreneurship, social impact, and environmental sustainability. He is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan Economics Program in 1989 and 1992. He spent the majority of his career in New York where he honed his skills and developed a deep understanding of the financial industry.
Steve “retired” from his first career recently when he sold his company to Accenture in 2018. He is now in the position to chase his passions and one is as a mentor, coach and investor in the venture world and hands on Partner, Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of a blockchain fintech company based in Miami that successfully raised Venture Capital Funds in 2022. He is always on the lookout for new ideas and technologies that have the potential to change the world, and is committed to supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.
Throughout his career in technology, banking and capital markets, Steve has been driven by a desire to make a positive impact in the world. He firmly believes in the importance of diversity and fairness in the workplace, and has been a vocal advocate for initiatives aimed at promoting greater inclusion and equity in the industry.
Steve is committed to environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions and works with the largest companies in the world to generate solutions. He understands the urgent need to address climate change and has been actively involved in efforts to promote sustainability and reduce the impact of human activity on the environment.
In addition, Steve is passionate about restoring civility and fairness to the political process. He firmly believes in respectful and honest debate, and is committed to working towards a more civil and fair political environment.
Steve's love for the University of Michigan runs deep, and he is an active member of the Economic Leadership Council, advocating for the students, faculty, and staff. He is committed to helping the university continue to grow and thrive as a hub of innovation and academic excellence. He was born in Ann Arbor in 1967 and has had season football tickets for the past 23 years!.
Overall, Steve's story is one of dedication, hard work, and a commitment to the University and to making a positive impact in the world through entrepreneurship, social impact, environmental sustainability, and advocacy. He is an inspiring and exciting figure, and his contributions to the financial industry, social justice, and academic excellence will continue to be felt for many years to come.
Did you miss the Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement Ceremonies? No worries!
The Undergraduate Commencement Featured Speaker for 2022 was Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs at the University of Chicago.
Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Douglas served on the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama. He also served as Associate Director of Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress where he founded and served as Director of the Economic Mobility Program. Before joining the Center, Douglas was a Counsel at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Douglas graduated from the University of Michigan with Highest Honors in Economics and from the Yale Law School.
This year, to help keep our community healthy and safe, all 2021 Economics Commencement celebrations will be held remotely. Though we are saddened that we once again cannot physically come together during this special time for graduating seniors and their loved ones, we are still excited to celebrate in a virtual and socially-distant way!
We are excited to share a special 2021 Graduation Virtual Celebration, including Commencement videos to celebrate the accomplishments of students from our undergraduate, PhD, and Masters programs, as well as share words of support and wisdom from our faculty and featured speaker Dr. Elaine Buckberg, Chief Economist of General Motors.
The Undergraduate Commencement Featured Speaker for 2021 was Dr. Elaine Buckberg, the Chief Economist of General Motors. Immediately prior to joining GM, she was a Principal at The Brattle Group, a global economic consultancy. Previously, Dr. Buckberg served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Economic Policy. She also worked at NERA Economic Consulting, where she was a Senior Vice President as well as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and the Chair of the Strategy Committee. Dr. Buckberg began her career at the International Monetary Fund and worked in currency strategy and risk management at Morgan Stanley.
Dr. Buckberg earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Economics and English from Yale University.
In the spring of 2020, to help keep our community healthy and safe, all Economics Commencement celebrations were cancelled. Though we were saddened that we could not physically come together during this special time for graduating seniors and their loved ones, we were still excited to celebrate in a virtual and socially-distant way!
Please visit our special 2020 Graduation Virtual Celebration page to recognize the graduates of 2020 from our undergraduate, PhD, and Masters programs, as well as listen to words of support and wisdom from our faculty and featured speaker, John Denniston, in special commencement video messages.
The Undergraduate Commencement Featured Speaker for 2020 was John Denniston, a Co-Founder and the Executive Chairman of Shared-X. Shared-X is an agriculture impact company aiming to generate financial, social and environmental returns in emerging countries. At its core, Shared-X collapses the agricultural “yield gap” by deploying advanced, sustainable farming techniques.
In January 2020, Shared-X was named one of the Top 100 Global Impact Companies by Real Leaders, an impact organization. Shared-X was previously named one of the Top 200 Global Impact Solutions in a MacArthur Foundation competition, and a Top 250 Game-Changing Company by Global Silicon Valley.
John was previously a Senior Partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he co-founded and co-ran the firm's $1 billion Green Growth Fund. KPCB’s Green Growth Fund invests in sustainability companies in their growth stage.
Prior to Kleiner Perkins, John was a Managing Director and Head of Technology Investment Banking for the Western United States at Salomon Smith Barney. Earlier in his career, John was a Partner with a large California-based law firm, where he was Head of the firm’s Venture Capital practice, and Co-Head of its Information Technology practice group.
John earned two degrees from the University of Michigan: B.A. in economics, and J.D.
Did you miss the Undergraduate or Graduate Commencement Ceremonies? No Worries!
The Featured Speaker for the Undergraduate Economics Commencement was Ms. Mary Ellen Coe, President, Google Customer Solutions. In her role, Mary Ellen oversees the global ads business for mid-market and small businesses, serving millions of customers and thousands of partners worldwide. Her team helps businesses get online and grow, focusing on sales and operations for this high-growth segment as well as the acquisition of new advertisers and channel partners for Google Ads.
Prior to joining Google in 2012, Mary Ellen was a Partner with McKinsey & Company for 12 years, where she advised leading consumer, media and tech companies, and led the Consumer Marketing and Sales practice in North America. Earlier in her career, she spent 11 years in marketing and brand strategy, helping leading brands expand their global reach. Mary Ellen completed her BA from the U-M in 1989.
Mary Ellen is a member of the advisory board of the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan and will join Merck’s Board of Directors in March 2019. She served on the board of Whole Foods, and was involved in stewarding the company through the acquisition by Amazon. She resides in Los Altos Hills, California with her husband and two daughters.
Did you miss the Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement Ceremonies? No worries!
The Featured Speaker for the Economics Commencement Ceremony was Ms. Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, who joined the ceremony by telephone due to last minute logistical problems. Ms. Songwe has a Bachelor Degree in Economics and Political Science from University of Michigan (1996). She also holds a PhD in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics and a Master of Arts in Law and Economics and a Diplome d'etudes approfondies in Economic Science and Politics from the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.
Find out more about Ms. Songwe here!