Felipe Calderón, president of Mexico, will be Stanford's 2011 Commencement speaker

Stanford's 120th Commencement Weekend, which is scheduled for June 10-12, will feature a Commencement address by Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, president of Mexico; a Class Day lecture by Rob Reich, associate professor of political science at Stanford; and a Baccalaureate address by the Rev. Gail E. Bowman, chaplain at Dillard University in New Orleans.

Remy Steinegger Felipe Calderon Hinojosa

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, president of Mexico

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, president of Mexico since 2006, will be the 2011 Commencement speaker at Stanford University.

Stanford's 120th Commencement Weekend, which is scheduled for June 10-12, also will feature a Class Day lecture by Rob Reich, associate professor of political science at Stanford, and a Baccalaureate address by the Rev. Gail E. Bowman, chaplain at Dillard University in New Orleans.

President Calderón

President Calderón was elected in 2006 to a six-year term. He is a member of the National Action Party (PAN), one of the three major political parties in Mexico. Prior to the presidency, Calderón served as national president of the party, as federal deputy and as secretary of energy in the Cabinet of former President Vicente Fox.

"President Calderón assumed office at one of the most challenging times in the history of his nation, and is a respected foreign leader who has been involved in public service and advocacy for his entire life," said Stanford University President John Hennessy. "He is committed to finding solutions to a number of national and global problems, ranging from combating drug cartels to comprehensive immigration reform and arms control. His views on a life devoted to solving pressing problems and to improving society will be particularly meaningful to our graduates, as will his experience leading a nation so vitally intertwined with the future of California and the United States."

Senior Class Presidents Dante DiCicco, Pamon Forouhar, Mona Hadidi and Molly Spaeth said they nominated Calderón as the 2011 Commencement speaker "to send a powerful message" to the country and the rest of the world about the importance of leadership in international cooperation and social justice.

"In his capacity as a head of state, President Calderón has grappled with real problems and solutions that have had a tangible impact on both the domestic and international stage," they said in a statement. "He serves as an example of commitment and leadership in the face of adversity, characteristics we all may hope to emulate as we move on to the next phase of our lives and embark on a new series of opportunities and challenges. We are so pleased he has accepted our invitation."

President Calderón earned a bachelor's degree in law from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City, a master's degree in economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and a master's in public administration from Harvard University in 2000. He represented his native state of Michoacán in the Legislative Assembly and twice in the federal Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress in Mexico. His wife, Margarita Zavala, also served in the federal Chamber of Deputies. They have three children. A number of the couple's very close friends have attended Stanford, including a member of the senior class.

Class Day lecture

A 30-year Commencement Weekend tradition, Class Day features a "final lecture" from a renowned Stanford professor. This year, the lecture will be delivered by Rob Reich, an associate professor of political science with appointments in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Education. He is the faculty director of the Program in Ethics in Society and the co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.

Reich is a political theorist whose research focuses on the role and purpose of education in democracies. He is the author of Bridging Liberalism and Multiculturalism in American Education (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and has written articles on topics such as school choice, home schooling, school finance and language policies in education. He is currently completing a book on ethics, public policy and philanthropy. In 2001, he was honored with the Walter J. Gores Award, Stanford’s highest award for teaching. In 2008, he received the Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Teaching Award, and he is currently the Stanford Alumni Association Fellow in Undergraduate Education. Before attending graduate school, Reich was a sixth-grade teacher in Houston, Texas.

"We are excited to hear what kinds of lessons Professor Reich will impart not only to us as graduating seniors, but also to our parents, families and friends," the senior class presidents said. "We believe with his background in philosophy, education and in his role as the director of the Ethics in Society program, Professor Reich will be able to provide some powerful and lasting perspectives on how we as graduating seniors can continue to create our own meaningful legacies."

Baccalaureate speaker

Speaking at the Baccalaureate ceremony will be Gail E. Bowman, who has served as university chaplain at Dillard University in New Orleans since 1998. Bowman previously worked at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Spelman College in Atlanta. At Dillard, her tasks include teaching as well as preaching. She coordinates programs funded by the Lilly Endowment, designed to find creative ways to inspire student leadership development and spiritual expression. Bowman has a gubernatorial appointment to the Louisiana Board of Ethics. She has published numerous sermons and articles and a book.

A native of Iowa, Bowman holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and a law degree from Harvard University. She practiced law in Washington D.C., including eight years with the Senate and House judiciary committees, before enrolling in Howard University Divinity School and becoming an ordained minister.

Scotty McLennan, Stanford's dean for religious life, said, "Rev. Bowman is widely known as an experienced university chaplain and accomplished preacher, with many of her sermons published in The African-American Pulpit. We are delighted to have her coming from New Orleans to address us at this important moment in our graduating students' lives."

Stanford's 120th Commencement, Class Day lecture and Baccalaureate ceremonies are part of a celebration for graduates, their families and friends, and members of the Stanford community. The Baccalaureate ceremony will be held on the Main Quad and the Class Day lecture will be held in Maples Pavilion, both on Saturday, June 11. Commencement will be held in the Stanford Stadium on Sunday, June 12.