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Bartz to address graduates at spring commencement

May 1, 2012 By

Carol Bartz, the former CEO and president of Autodesk and Yahoo!, is returning to her alma mater to deliver the charge to the graduates at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s four commencement ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20 at the Kohl Center.

Photo: Carol Bartz


The ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on both of those days.

“I’m so happy to be back in Madison as a commencement speaker,” says Bartz. “I missed my own graduation ceremony here in 1971 so I’m really going to enjoy this with the class of 2012.”

Bartz received a bachelor of arts degree in computer science from the university. She has extensive experience in leading complex global technology companies and is known for her strong leadership style. She is regularly listed as one of “Fortune’s Most Powerful Women.”

While CEO of Yahoo!, the world’s premier digital media company, she modernized technology platforms, acquired companies for expansion, divested businesses for focus, ignited partnerships, cut costs, expanded margins and grew the consumer audience to 800 million.

Prior to Yahoo!, she was promoted after 12 years of successfully leading Autodesk as CEO to the executive chairman until February 2009 when she agreed to lead Yahoo!

Earlier in her career she held several business leadership positions at Sun Microsystems, including Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations and an executive officer of the company.

Bartz is currently the lead director on the board of Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking. She also serves as a director of the National Medals of Science and Technology Foundation and as a trustee of the Paley Center for Media. She has also served on other public company boards, including those of Intel and NetApp.

Bartz received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, an honorary doctor of science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and an honorary doctor of letters from William Woods University. She was also a winner of the Wisconsin Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993.

She supports key causes that are important to her, including the American Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Heart Association.

Commencement speakers are selected and recommended by senior class officers.

There are five ceremonies during commencement weekend:

Friday, May 18, 5:30 p.m.

All doctoral and professional degrees (includes doctor of philosophy, doctor of musical arts, doctor of juridical science, juris doctor, doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, doctor of veterinary medicine, doctor of pharmacy, doctor of audiology, doctor of nursing practice, master of fine arts, master of laws, master of laws-legal institutions, master of public health, master of physician assistant studies.

Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, School of Education, School of Human Ecology, School of Medicine and Public Health, School of Nursing, and School of Pharmacy; and master’s degrees from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Saturday, May 19, 2:30 p.m.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Business and College of Engineering.

Sunday, May 20, 10 a.m.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Letters and Science, majors A through H (African languages and literature through history of science, medicine and technology).

Sunday, May 20, 2:30 p.m.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Letters and Science, majors I through Z (international public affairs through zoology).

The ceremonies will be streamed live for the benefit of friends and relatives who are unable to attend. Windows Media Player and a broadband connection are required in order to view them. The link to the streaming will be on the university’s main Web site at The stream will not be available until the beginning of each ceremony.

Each of the commencement ceremonies will be less than two hours in length.