Commencement speakers announced

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Fresh UD graduates of the class of 2016 throw their graduation caps into the air after the ceremony on the Mall. Photo courtesy of University of Dallas Alumni.

The commencement speakers for 2018 have been named as Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun and Thomas Nealon. Both are graduates of University of Dallas.

“The speaker is meant to be someone who has significantly contributed to the betterment of the world, would do honor to the university by becoming a commencement speaker, and who would be able to speak movingly to our students about her or his life, education, and achievements, in order to inspire our students to fulfill our mission to become leaders to act responsibly for their own good and for the good of their family, community, country, and church,” Dr. John Norris, associate provost, said in an email.

Both speakers seem to fit this criteria well. They are both leaders in their fields and are devoted to the care of others.

Chaqroun graduated with an MBA in International Management and Finance in 1986, and has since put her education to use as a CEO in Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès, at which she is currently general manager of administration and director.

She is also the director of the Bank Al-Maghrib, the independent director of SUEZ SA and independent director of Renault SA.

She is also known for supporting a number of humanitarian efforts, and acted as a juror for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.

Nealon graduated from UD with a MBA in Marketing, and has been the President of Southwest Airlines since January of 2017.

He worked heavily on improvements of the company’s technology organization and customer interactions.

His work on implementing new technologies has enhanced most major areas of the company.

On the Southwest Airlines profile for Nealon, he states that the best advice he had ever received and subsequently given was, “Always work hard, be prepared, and be nice to people.”

Other speakers confirmed to speak at the graduation ceremony are Catherine Blume, as the valedictorian, and Dr. Andrew Moran, an associate professor of English, who will be giving the faculty address.

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