Fourteen years after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs discussed his battle with cancer at Stanford’s 2005 Commencement address, his successor Tim Cook is slated to speak at the University’s 128th Commencement on June 16, 2019.
“Tim Cook has spoken forcefully of the challenges and responsibilities confronting corporations and our society today,” University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne told Stanford News. “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.”
Cook, who in 2014 became the first Fortune 500 Chief Executive to publicly come out as gay, has extended his influence beyond Apple to seek reform in political fields ranging from national surveillance and cybersecurity to corporate taxation and environmental preservation.
“Tim was a natural choice to challenge and encourage our graduates as they leave our campus and find their own paths in the world,” Tessier-Lavigne said.
Stanford Senior Class Presidents Tashrima Hossain, Nick Peña, Tony Moller and Aron Tesfai told Stanford News they “are excited and humbled” that Cook will speak at Commencement.
“As a pioneer of Silicon Valley, his life is devoted to issues deeply intertwined with the Stanford community,” the students said. “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.”
Cook spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Commencement address in 2017, and at Duke’s Commencement address in 2018. The Stanford visit will keep Cook close to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters in Santa Clara County.
However, Cook said, Stanford and Apple “share so much more than geography.”
Stanford Medicine announced in Nov. 2017 that it would work with Apple to test the Apple Watch’s ability to identify irregular heart rhythms associated with atrial fibrillation, a condition that puts more than 2.7 million Americans at risk of blood clots, heart failure and stroke.
“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 told Stanford News. “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.”
Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.