Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple and a prominent voice on ethics in technology and business, will be the 2019 Commencement speaker at Stanford University on Sunday, June 16.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO; vertical portrait

Tim Cook (Image credit: Courtesy Apple)

“Tim Cook has spoken forcefully of the challenges and responsibilities confronting corporations and our society today,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “In tackling these, he has led with vision and values – qualities that reflect the culture of our Stanford community, and that are top-of-mind for our students and our country. Tim was a natural choice to challenge and encourage our graduates as they leave our campus and find their own paths in the world.”

Cook joined Apple in 1998, and the company’s board of directors named him CEO in August 2011. He has used his position as one of the world’s most prominent executives to speak up on privacy, advance tools to empower users with data about their screen time and address other implications of emerging technology.

The issues he has raised dovetail with an initiative in Stanford’s Our Vision long-range planning process to empower faculty and schools “to infuse our role in the technology revolution with ethics and societal considerations.” The initiative encourages research on the “societal and ethical consequences of scientific and technological advances … to magnify benefits and minimize downsides” and aims to “ensure students are equipped to address societal and ethical impacts of science and technology.”

“We are excited and humbled to have Tim Cook as the 2019 Stanford Commencement speaker,” said Stanford Senior Class Presidents Tashrima Hossain, Nick Peña, Tony Moller and Aron Tesfai. “As a pioneer of Silicon Valley, his life is devoted to issues deeply intertwined with the Stanford community. Not only has he molded the course of Apple, but Tim is also an avid advocate for ethics and privacy in the future of tech. Combined with his powerful advocacy for LGBTQ issues worldwide and socially conscious entrepreneurial spirit, his mission strongly aligns with that of our university.”

“It’s an honor to have been invited by Stanford’s students and faculty, and I look forward to deepening the remarkable relationship that Stanford and Apple have built together over many years,” Cook said. “We share so much more than geography. The passion, interests and creativity our institutions have in common have helped to revolutionize technology and reshape the world, and I can’t wait to join graduates, as well as their family and friends, in celebrating the even brighter possibilities of the future.”

Last year, Cook was again named to Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list. He has also been named Person of the Year by the Financial Times and honored with the Newseum’s Free Speech Award for using his position to take a public stand on important social issues. In April 2018, observing the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference presented Cook with its Keeper of the Dream Award for Human Rights.

Cook, a native of Alabama, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and an MBA from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar. He was elected to Duke’s board of trustees in 2015.

Stanford’s 128th Commencement ceremony is part of a weekend-long celebration for graduates, their families and friends, and members of the Stanford community. The ceremony will be held in Stanford Stadium on Sunday, June 16. More information is available on the Commencement Weekend website.

Media Contacts

E.J. Miranda, University Communications: ejmirand@stanford.edu, (650) 724-9161